I like this idea, but especially the quote at the end:
Council chiefs have admitted they will be breaking the law by halting street cleaning in a Lothian town. But they have vowed to go-ahead with the tactic in a bid to shock the public into clearing up after themselves.
East Lothian Council will withdraw street sweeping services and allow rubbish to build up in Tranent from tomorrow. The council says if the scheme is successful, it will be introduced across East Lothian, in towns including Haddington, North Berwick and Dunbar. But the scheme is in breach of the Environmental Protection Act of 1990, which places a statutory duty on the council to keep the streets free from rubbish.
The council today admitted it was “being a bit naughty”.
From today’s Scotsman (via kevan). Legal or not, I have to say I kinda like the idea, it just gets depressing seeing most urban streets or public transport at the end of the day, covered in litter and filthy as hell. More infruriating is the extreme casualness with which people litter these days, idly dropping anything without a second’s thought. Cunts. If the authorities withdrew the provision for litter sweeping in urban areas and channelled the spare money and workforce into better bin provision and more frequent collection (naturally, you would have to retain a small cleanup force for any genuine environmental emergencies where animal or human life was actually in danger), then the consequences of people’s actions would suddenly be much more apparent. You can see some problems immediately coming in (large increases in vermin for one) but these would be hopefully temporary. It might be tough going the first few weeks, but soon the seemingly endless miasma of chip wrappers, coke cans and chocolate wrappers that contaminates our cities would clear away once people realise what they’re actually doing.
Here’s hoping East Lothian Council sticks to its guns.
Update: After a bit of thought (see comments) I’ve changed my mind – I don’t think the council should go ahead with it now. It’s clearly unfair to pick on one single town for what is a national problem, and there are practical issues of natural litter (especially in autumn) and loose debris that is not deliberately dropped, which means withdrawing services would not be a good idea. But there still remains that fundamental problem – how to bridge the disconnect between actions and their consequences, especially as in this case the disconnect is entirely institutional and can be abolished at a stroke. Littering ticks all the “tricky” boxes – it is impossible to police effectively and in any case, each individual act is not particularly harmful and thus any sort of individual punishment is draconian. Neither taxation (what exactly would you tax?) nor markets (what exactly would you trade?) can be made to specifically target the root causes of the problem. So I’ve got stuck on this one, which is what made me look at the most prominent part of the problem, the disconnect. With that too difficult to bridge, what other option is left?