In a city where any sense of community is increasingly rare, councils offering rewards to residents who capture others committing ‘enviro-crime’ (London paper, July 27th) is an abrasive, invasive idea that will almost certainly kill off any latent sense of togetherness that might still exist in London. Add to this, the fact that our taxes will not only be offered to those with the time and the inclination to spy and pry, but also the further cost of law enforcement bodies investigating claims (bogus and legitimate) and enforcing the penalties, and Taxpayers’ Alliance Susie Squire’s comments of the dear financial and community costs are simple reflection on increasingly lazy council attitudes and misguided council funds, misused taxpayer money and poor political decisions for the general public.
Camden council’s 2007-2010 waste strategy clearly states that imposing fines is a far less effective way than offering incentives to recycle or dispose of waste properly. Other research has found – and some even quote “drastic figures” – that there is much more benefit in community based schemes, rather than financial incentives. Encouraging us to dob one and other in couldn’t be further from the idea of a “community”. Moreover, effective waste disposal strategies are strategies for long-term environmental sustainability – they should be funded and encouraged by councils and governments. It certainly is debatable (laughable, even) whether offering rewards for information and identities of those dumping waste unacceptably, fits this idea. Clearly some councils are adopting the attitude that it’s much easier to just “pay the public” rather than doing some groundwork themselves.
If people need to hear the message that “we want our streets clean and we don’t want people coming here and dumping rubbish” as Labour councillor Afzal Akram said, surely providing education and opportunity for the public to do so is the solution – not encouraging “Mrs Jones” to keep an unwanted eye on the street, pen in hand, ready to write down any offender’s details. – Consider that fact that she still won’t prevent the offence from occurring, there will still be a cost in disposing of the waste (plus her “reward”) and she will probably come in for some marked hostility from those who she dobbed in. Almost sounds childish, don’t you think? It certainly misses the point.