Not all relics of the industrial age are quite as ‘photogenic’ as this old tub!
By now, we are pretty familiar with the principle: ‘the polluter pays’.
Our cars must be disposed of responsibly, we have to pay to get rid of materials containing asbestos, and so on.
But could we, and should we, apply this principle to other aspects of our life?
Here’s a few ideas for starters.
- There’s a clear link between fatty and sugar laden foods and obesity – which is set to cost our Health Service a fortune in the years to come. Should such foods attract a special tax, both as a disincentive for consumption, and to make sure those eating these foods meet the total cost resulting from consumption?
- Late night pubs and clubs spill people onto streets at times when shopkeepers are not around. It costs money to provide police at this time, taking resources away from previous normal daytime duties. And if a drunken fracas develops and a shop window gets broken in, it rests with the shopkeepers to answer a call in the early hours, arrange emergency repairs, and then install security shutters. Should the cost of all this be met by taxing those who run licensed premises which serve areas where these problems occur?
- People end up in hospital for all sorts of reasons – sometimes as a result of accidents caused by dangerous driving, sometimes because of violent assaults. Expensive therapy may even be needed to help victims cope with the aftermath of criminal activity. Should the costs be met by the perpetrator, rather than by the tax payer?
- Disposing of household rubbish is increasingly expensive – whether for landfill or by recycling. Most householders battle with junk mail they don’t want, as well as with unnecessarily elaborate packaging. Shouldn’t those generating these materials, be expected to meet the cost of disposal?
- How much money is spent on cleaning up after chewing gum? Shouldn’t clean up costs be met by the companies who make and sell it?
What do you think?
Would this help people understand the full consequences of their actions?
Can you think of any other examples?