Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The legality of trash and waste

The upper middle class has centred lives around orderliness of their surroundings and public health. Government institutions have been created to maintain that trash will be picked up and "disposed of" in timely fashion, leaving no trace of plastic or degrading organic matter. In Madrid, the government cleans the streets every night, it seems. Further, people are legally bound to create trash. If you go to a fast food joint where people serve you in "disposable" packaging, asking for something to be handed to you without the packaging is at some level against the law. This is because in order to maintain "public health," clean packaging and latex gloves must be used for every new customer. We have therefore placed human "well being" above the damages to our mountains, watersheds and land.

The Trafigura incident I raised in the last post also serves to shed light on another facet of waste, pollution and degradation - it is legally alright to harm the lives of those "undeveloped," "underdeveloped," and "savage" people below our class, if you can get away with it. Imagine dumping that petrochemical waste in Los Angeles.

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