Living in student accommodation is often likened to slum life. Beer cans and crisp packets as far as the eye can see and the water in the toilet is always yellow. No one knows who it is that doesn’t flush, but someone is to blame. The kitchen smells of putrefaction and decay, and the shower has its very own toxic ecosystem. But compared to the real slums of the world, even the grossest student hovel is the lap of luxury.
Slums have sprung up in virtually every country of the world at some point throughout their history. In the 18th century and early 19th century they were pretty common in Europe and the US, but as the West developed, slum areas dropped in number and size.
Below is an Indian slum; in Mumbai around 60% of the population live in similar conditions. The government was recently discussing taxing the poor blighters stuck in squalor, but the government thought better of it thankfully. I don’t think they changed their minds out of humanitarian concern though, I think it was either that the elections were coming up, or that they had no idea of how to work out the admin. I mean, these places obviously don’t have postcodes and letter boxes do they? You can’t exactly email them to tell them they owe some cash.
The picture below is an African slum town built on stilts on a lagoon called Makoka in Nigeria. It houses over 80,000 people. It’s been inhabited since the 18th century, but the government now consider it a prime waterfront location and are trying to get rid of it.
Some residents of Makoka were given just 72 hours notice before officials came along to destroy their homes. One bloke was killed in the process. Jeez guys, give ’em a break.
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