On this bright (well, fairly bright) Monday morning I am feeling unusually depressed. I would like to see the UK being run properly but I do not see any leadership in any of the political parties that could fulfill that desire.
First, of course, we have to know what “run properly” means. We have to accept that what I want will not be the same as what you want, or he wants, or she wants and so on ad infinitum. Essentially it probably boils down to, “I want the things that I use to work properly and although I may have a passing interest in things that other people want to work properly because they have different needs, different problems: an interest, if I am entirely honest, is more intellectual than empathetic.”
My guess is that you feel the same.
There is an excellent comment by Alan Thorpe that he put up under my blog “Keeping the Inheritance Intact” with which I entirely agree. He says that we really do need to be responsible for ourselves and I agree. I would extent the concept of “ourselves” a bit to take in “the community”. For a long time I have wondered how we can push communities into looking after their own. Here is one thought that has been trundling around in the back of my mind for some weeks.
For this we need to define “the community”. Well, every area has a town or parish council (I think this is right). New regulation: no rubbish may leave the boundaries of the community unless it is sold to a registered recycling organisation and collected by that organisation.
The result would be that each community would be forced to find a way of dealing with its own midden. The cost would be met by the people in the community (and how they raised that would be up to them) and the solution would have to be doable. What would be unacceptable would be to do nothing for you can be sure that people would screech very loudly indeed if everything was just left heaped up in the streets.
First and foremost, my guess is that people would look very, very carefully at the waste they generated and how they separated it into recyclable, compost-able and so on. The penny would soon drop – less waste, less need to deal with it and it is OUR problem so let’s see what can be done about it.
Some solutions would need the acquisition of a suitable site and equipment. It would be reasonable for the Parish and Town Councils to be granted interest free loans or even grants from central government for this purpose but running costs would have to be met by the community. These could be reduced if the rubbish could be turned into something useful and it can – heat. A rubbish to heat plant (an incinerator if you prefer) returns some of the costs involved by selling the heat to local residents or commercial operators. Before raising your hands in horror, it is worth remembering that there are over five thousand incinerators operating in England and Wales (I haven’t checked the figures in Scotland or Norther Ireland) and you very rarely hear of problems with any of them. There is always the risk of some air pollution when things go wrong but think of the savings in that regard by reducing the thousands of lorry miles used in transporting rubbish many miles to the nearest remaining landfill site.
A small step toward running the UK properly but one that effects each and every one of us.