It is only right that any company found in breach of any environmental laws should be punished, but in recent years there has been a shakeup as to the types of punishments that are being handed out.
In a move that has been designed to restore the environment quickly after such infringements, many companies will now be given fines which are given directly to environmental charities. That money can then be quickly used to directly affect the environment in a positive way rather than drag the companies through long and expensive court cases that offer no benefit to the environment at all.
Companies that are caught breaking environmental laws through acts such as polluting rivers, not recycling waste, breaking the conditions of their permits or any other activity that could harm the environment, are also required to show they have taken steps to avoid the offences happening again in the future.
More than 30 environmental charities will benefit from the fines that will help to pay for the cleaning of rivers, the restocking of species and to spread awareness about the environment.
Recent Cases of Fined UK Companies
In recent years there has been a number of cases where companies have been given fines for breaking environmental laws with those below being just a few of them:
- Northumbrian Water was fined £375,000 for dumping raw sewage into the River Tyne.
- Filippo Berio UK was fined £253,906 for not recycling their packaging waste.
- Anglian Water Services was fined £200,000 for two separate incidents that were responsible for the death of fish due to pollution.
- Heineken UK was fined £160,000 for a pollution-related
- Kerry Ingredients UK was fined £127,975 for a pollution-related
- Sandoz was fined £120,932 for not recycling packaging waste.
Those above are just six of more than dozens of companies that have paid fines in recent years that have been passed directly on to environmental charities.
Instead of wasting money on court cases, the whole point of this new approach is to ensure that those responsible for breaking the law will give something back to the environment to help restore it.
Whilst these incidents should never happen at all in an ideal world, it does make sense that companies are hit in the pocket and that the money they are fined is used to benefit the environment.
From the fines handed out in recent times, more than £1.5 million has been given to charities across the country. That is a lot of money that has been put to good use.
Industry One of the Biggest Causes of Pollution
It is no secret that industry the world over has contributed a considerable portion of the damage to our environment and while laws, regulations and awareness have dramatically improved things over the years, they could be doing a lot more.
Not only does the pollution from factories, power plants and other industrial buildings damage the health of the planet that we live on, but it also has the potential to damage our health. The gases, fumes and toxins that they release into the air will make their way into our lungs at some point.
The illnesses and health issues that can be caused as a direct result of pollution range in severity, but when you consider that it is possible to contract asthma, bronchitis, respiratory diseases and even lung cancer or heart failure, you can just see the kind of damage that can be done to our health.
What is particularly worrying is that it is the youngest and eldest of us that are more prone to health issues.
Protecting Yourself from Pollution
While we will never be able to protect ourselves completely, there are some things you can do to limit the amount of pollution that you are exposed to. Some of the following may not be possible for you, but every little helps in the fight against protecting yourself and your family from the effects of pollution:
- Do not live in cities where the pollution from industry and transport is at high levels.
- If you do live in a city, try not to go outdoors too much on a sunny day.
- Instead of using your car to go to work, share a ride with others to cut down on the emissions you are putting into the air.
- Install a home air filter if you live in an area that is known for high levels of air pollution.
- Check daily air pollution forecasts.
- Cut down on the energy that you use in your own home.
Pollution has already done more than enough damage to the planet and while company compensations are now being used more effectively by going to environmental charities, we still need to push for greener practices throughout industry if we ever want to see a marked improvement on pollution levels.