Monday, March 23, 2009

Rubbish and the economy

Capital Times this month has a brief report on the City budget. It notes that a recent Ask Cardiff survey indicated that chief among citizens' concerns are community safety issues and litter. That makes me feel a lot less like an elderly eccentric. Keeping the City tidy enough to reflect pride in our public domain is always going to remain a public spending commitment, and if we fail in this, it would be a sign of social collapse. But while I don't begrudge spending money on cleaning up, I do think money and energy might be better spent re-educating adults not to drop litter or dump larger items, rather than disposing of them properly.

Prevention is also important - the enforcement of anti-litter laws, sanctions against those who fill their match day coaches with supermarket purchased booze to drink en route or afterwards, and then leave their detritus for someone else to clear up. Or at least, why not make it more expensive for people to roam the streets eating their junk food and throwing away their containers, with a refundable deposit for returning them? The regulators may mumble 'too difficult', but money is being diverted from economic development into cleaning up after consumers who could be pressed if not persuaded into better behaviour.

Great fortunes are earned by the food and drinks industries with their disposable containers. permitting fast turnover and high consumption. Clearing up after the masses who can't sit down for long enough to leave their trash in one place where it can be cleared away properly and inexpensively, ends up being an additional burden on local taxpayers.

There were a quarter of a million people in town for the match on Saturday and they weren't all Cardiffians. But Cardiff paid for the dubious pleasure. How much of the revenue generated on such occasions remains here to benefit the City, and citizens?

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