Businesses should foot the bill for the pollution they cause, says UN environment chief

'Anyone who pollutes, anyone who destroys nature must pay the cost for that destruction'

Rachel Roberts
Sunday 24 September 2017 23:50
Comments
The UN has said businesses responsible for the pollution which blights most major cities, including London, should start footing the bill
The UN has said businesses responsible for the pollution which blights most major cities, including London, should start footing the bill

The United Nations has said those responsible for pollution should foot the bill for the damage being wreaked on the planet.

The organisation’s environment chief, Erik Solheim, urged governments to take a more integrated approach to going green while ensuring those who “destroy nature” are held to account.

“The profit of destroying nature or polluting the planet is nearly always privatised, while the costs of polluting the planet or the cost of destroying ecosystems is nearly always socialised,” he told an international conference on sustainable development at New York's Columbia University on Monday.

“That cannot continue," he said, adding that the UN’s goal of a “pollution free planet” is achievable only if action is stepped up.

"Anyone who pollutes, anyone who destroys nature must pay the cost for that destruction or that pollution.”

Pointing to recent progress by China and India, Mr Solheim, the executive director of UN Environment, claimed the World Health Organisation is now linking a quarter of all deaths to pollution. Cancer, heart disease and respiratory problems are all believed to be linked to the poor quality air many people around the world are breathing in.

He stopped short of naming companies who he thought might be among the worst offenders preferring to stress the role of business in developing new technologies to help counter environmental damage, citing transport solutions as key.

Mr Soldheim said the dramatic fall in the cost of solar power is beginning to have an impact around the world, with clean energy and technology helping to generate jobs and economic growth in countries including India.

“Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi realised he can electrify the villages and provide any number of green jobs – he can provide high economic growth, he can take care of his people, and take care of the planet by the same policies.”

“Change is happening," he said. "Economic-wise, we are on the right track, but we need to speed up because the challenge is so big.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in