Who’s profiting from climate change? - GulfToday

Who’s profiting from climate change?

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

Time to rethink our relationship to waste and land use

Given how the environment is reacting to our everyday usage of throw away items we should be mindful of how we consume goods.

I often wonder who profits from all these going green initiatives. Is it government? Is it big corporations, or start-ups? Or is it the consumer? I’d wager that those who stand to get most financial gain are either government or big corporations. Consumers might in the very long run but it’s likely to be not as noticeable as in the business sector.

I’m all for saving the environment. We all should be, given how rapidly things have escalated in the last few years. We’ve all heard about the California wildfires and the burning Amazon Rainforest which, by the way, appears no longer to be in the news. Has it stopped burning or has our news feed moved on? I suspect it’s the latter. Given how the environment is reacting to our everyday usage of throw away items we should be mindful of how we consume goods.

That being said, some of the measures introduced by local shops and local government bodies don’t make sense to me. What I mean is that the idea is fine but, to me, its execution is all-wrong. And, in some cases as in a UK local council, very confusing and off-putting to its residence, particularly the elderly and disabled.

A local council in England has introduced a recycling system. Now we all know what they are and how they work. Usually there are three bins, one for paper products, one for general waste and another for plastics. They’re usually sitting side by side so you can drop things off as you go. You must have seen them dotted around shopping malls? But this council has gone even further to meet its recycling targets. It has allotted six bags of rubbish, all colour coded, each for a different type of waste. There is a bag for food waste, one for cardboard, another for paper (because they’ve made a distinction between cardboard and paper), one for plastic containers, one for glass and another for batteries.

But then it gets complicated, especially for the elderly and those with physical disabilities. The amount of rubbish bags a household is allotted is limited to the size of the household, meaning how many people live in that house. Furthermore, each bag is colour coded so what happens if someone is colour blind? Then the bags are not collected all at once. Some are collected once a week and some every three weeks. That means that residents have to store their rubbish for a whole week, or three full weeks, before they are collected.

The problem is compounded by the fact that there is a single collection point which means that most elderly and differently-abled people will not be able to carry that much waste down to the collection point. Elderly people are now having to bend down and sort their rubbish out into their appropriate bags and then lug them down to wherever the bins are located. Moreover, some residents’ homes are on a steep incline which means that they have to negotiate carrying these bags up or down a hill.

Who on earth thought of this absurd and complicated process I don’t know but it seems that whoever had that light-bulb moment forgot that there are some very vulnerable members in their community who will find disposing of their rubbish very challenging and, in some cases, impossible. The inconsiderate thing is that if residents do not comply with the new procedure they are subject to a fine.

Now this is where I wonder about the profits. There are fines for non-compliance. My question is where does the money go? Councils are given targets for achieving their recycling projects. Is there a bonus at the end of it for meeting it? Is it financial? At the expense of causing extreme trouble to the elderly and differently-abled?

To me this story reminded me of the infamous supermarket plastic bag. To deter or reduce their use many supermarkets are either giving them out sparingly or charging customers for them or trying to sell them reusable cloth bags at around Dhs10 a pop. I suppose I might ask in whose interest the Dhs10 goes towards. It can’t be for climate change or recycling activities. Then tenner is going right into the supermarket bottom line.

That does not encourage me to buy just to help them make a profit from selling these bags. If supermarkets want to encourage customers to use these cloth bags they should give them away for free especially when they see the customer every day and knows roughly how much shopping he or she buys on a regular basis. Otherwise, ordinary laypeople will think that big businesses are using climate change as an excuse to increase their profit margins. No wonder some people think it’s a hoax. It’s not but the marketing is all kinds of wrong.

Related articles