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Polluter Pays Principle

( Article Type: Explanation )

This is a basic economic principle (currently being adopted in legislation by many countries) that requires the producers or generators of pollution to pay for the costs of avoiding pollution or of cleaning up or remedying its effects. Therefore, any pollution generated by a process must be paid for from within the cost structure of production. In broad terms, this means that companies must stop producing polluting emissions and effluents or ultimately stop production. The new National Water Act is tightening up controls on water pricing and effluent disposal. The proposals for the rewriting of the current air pollution control legislation will have a similar air quality focus, meaning that the Polluter Pays Principle will have much more practical application in future. The concept has only been introduced recently, and many industries are not in a position to make the radical changes necessary. This is because of the lax pollution controls of the past, which allowed equipment that had limited pollution control mechanisms to be designed and installed. In South Africa, the principle is being applied through the White Paper on Environmental Management Policy for South Africa and through the principles embodied in the National Environmental Management Act. An interesting case study on the Polluter Pays Principle can be found at:

Associated Organisations:

Renaissance Environmental Hub