Dilemmas

Industrial developments          


Industrial developments

You have just heard about plans to build a pesticides factory in your town. You are worried about the potential negative environmental impacts, such as air and water pollution and traffic congestion. You are also concerned about the risk of an industrial accident. What can you do? Discuss the approaches suggested below and weigh up the associated pros and cons.

This is a complex issue, with social, economic and environmental aspects. Decision making is in the hands of government experts, who should be knowledgeable about safety issues.

Positive

Pros

You are not involved in discussions about the proposed development, thus you cannot be held responsible if things go wrong.

Negative

Cons

Government officials may have limited knowledge about your town. Their decisions may be based on the submitted documentation, without taking into account the nuances of local public opinion. If you do not express your views, how can a balanced solution be found? After all, it's you who will be living next to the factory, not the experts.

You decide to form a citizens' group and launch a campaign to prevent the construction of the factory.

Positive

Pros

This option will enable you to express your views about the proposed construction. It might be your only option if the officials are unwilling to gauge public opinion.

Negative

Cons

This is a more radical approach. It might be difficult to build consensus among people holding differing views.

You consider the options and take an active part in the decision-making process.

Positive

Pros

If all parties put forward their views and concerns there is a greater chance of reaching a fair decision.

Negative

Cons

For this option to work, there needs to be a carefully organised procedure, which can prove time-consuming and expensive to establish.

You support the development, as it will bring jobs and wealth to your town.

Positive

Pros

Even if you stand to benefit from the new source of wealth, it is unlikely that profits will be evenly distributed among members of the community.

Negative

Cons

This position ignores important social and environmental aspects. The economic impacts of the development go beyond job creation. There may be a fall in property values, and public health may be jeopardised.