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Friday, December 19, 2003

River Water Quality, Downstream Extraction, Bill
The Today programme is having a bit of fun looking for ideas from the public which it could try to have turned into law...

I've had a think + submitted the following to their Listener's Law site:

"I would like to suggest that those responsible for polluting rivers should be made responsible for paying their fair share of the cost of cleaning up the environment.

This could be done by only allowing polluting industries to extract river water from sites that are downstream of their own outlet pipes.

This simple measure would mean that businesses could not pollute river water in ways which effect others, but not themselves, and that businesses would have a personal/commercial interest in making sure that the water they release into the environment is as clean as, or cleaner than, when first extracted.

This elegant step for internalising the cost of environmental damage was first suggested by Prof. Sir Richard Southwood in a 1988 paper written for NATO on how to reduce the levels of pollution in the river Danube, which currently increase, as it passes through Europe.