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The Polluter Pays Principle and Environmental Management Issues

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The polluter pays principle is any by product produced that damage or disobey the property rights of others. According to Cordato (2001) the polluter is said to be the person company who are the main producers of that by product, it requires the payment that is equal to damage caused to be paid to the people who were affected by this damage. The polluter pays principle is important determining cost of damage from environmental violation caused by industries or individuals. The principle is applied to ensure that the cost of mitigating environmental change are internalized by the industry or the individual found liable, for tackling public health hazards that results from environmental pollution. The principle has the potential to play an important role in shaping the performance of industries/ commercials enterprises and make them adapt environmentally responsible practices. “Polluter pays principle is a principle that can be used to allocate costs of pollution that can be used to allocate costs of pollution prevention, to promote wise usage of limited natural or environmental resources and to avoid distortions in international trade and investment”. Therefore, this essay will discuss what PPP is all about and it will also discuss three case studies which will illustrate how PPP has been engaged with businesses internationally in relation to environmental management issues.

The main benefit of the principle is that it helps to assign the blame directory to the polluter itself, instead of blaming everyone for the crime they did not commit. The individuals or state that caused damage on environment is the blamed and is made to bear the cost associated with their action. However, the shortcoming is that sometimes there is no causal link between the polluter and pollution and therefore there is failure in tracing pollution to the polluter leading to the polluter not being punished for wrongdoings. Industries should ensure that their activities do not harm a cause pollution by implementing new pollution control technological and they must transition to well planned production processes.

The first case study is about a company which was polluting the environment and thus it paid six figure sums (millions). This company being Northumbria water which polluted the River Tyne by pumping raw sewage to its tributary, then it was fined $375,000. Anglian water service made two payments for water pollution that killed fishes. The legal director of Environmental Agency said that they take pollution seriously and the payment also as they benefit people and their environment. The payment allows the polluter to restore the environment and take responsibility in preventing the recurrence.

Director of the Wildlife Trusts, Stephen Trotter, believes that the principle that the polluter should bear the cost for the damage they caused makes good sense, because everyone depends on a healthy environment and this principle allows some natural improvements to be funded which wouldn’t have took place. Payments are made to charities and Wildlife Trusts is one pf those charities, it uses the money to ensure safety of rare chalk streams and supports the projects such as conservation heathlands restoring hedges.

The second case study is about an approach to water savings which seems impossible since the occurrence of a discharging silt-laden water into Sussex river. There is a firm which was contracted by South East Water known as Interserve Construction for improvement management of water treatment. The environmental Agency got a report from a member of public after seeing discolored water. Environmental Agency discovered brown discharge downstream on the site. However, the Agency told the Lewes Crown Court that it was an isolated incident which lasted for few minutes while overall performance of the company was good. it also mentioned that there is no evidence that the local wildlife was adversely affected by the discharge. The spokesperson of the firm apologized and accepted the ruling. The interserve construction was then fined $54,000, with cost of $5,955. Thy assured the community that that they will assist in preventing water losses and water pollution at the same time

The last case study is about a mining company Blue Platinum Ventures which was found guilty of causing environmental degradation since it was involved in mining activities, based in Tzaneen in Limpopo but just outside Batlabine village. The company did nothing about their damage, refused to take responsibility required by the department of Environmental Affairs and Department of Mineral Affairs. The cost of rehabilitation was estimated to be around R6.8millionand Blue Platinum was given a five-year suspension and a condition of paying the money within three months. The community was not happy about the matter which led them to laying criminal charges against mine and its directors through the center for Environmental rights, which represented community.

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