Originally we wanted to reveal our cliffhanger from the previous blog today, in a festive manner. But because of the political debate on a deposit scheme in our Dutch Lower House om Thursday 15 March I felt a need to get something else off my chest.
I have always had a lot of confidence in the government and I scoffed people a bit when they criticized politicians. In our home, the angry citizen is often paraphrased with: “Yes, yes, from our taxes!” And then we laugh happily again.
But since last week I have been looking at politics differently.
We have been working on clearing litter for a little over three months now, trying to light others or at least making the problem more aware. I am amazed at my own drive to be busy with this. Every day I pick up something and at least once a week I fill a whole bag with junk from the neighborhood. I read a lot about it, with @plasticcleanup we’re active on social media and try to do something about the litter in a positive way.
But then, then Secretary of State Stientje van Veldhoven was on the news show Brandpunt and told us that until 2021 she will give the business community the chance to reach the target of 70 – 90% less plastic bottles. If they don’t reach that target a deposit scheme will be set up. She would start the next Monday with legislation in case the business does not reach this target. ‘One way or another, we’ll make it happen’ was her repetitive mantra. Cans turned out to no longer matter in her proposal.
Thanks to the tweets from the Afvaladvocaat I learnt that the debat in the Lower House last Thursday more or less ended in this proposal. I have no words for the powerlessness and desperation that I feel because of this. Over 80% of the Dutch are in favour of a deposit scheme. A proven effective measure. Few proposals in politics can rely on so much support from the voters. Then why wait?
The Secretary of State also has no idea how the business will tackle this. In Brandpunt she was talking about some extra trash cans and a bit more sweeping. During the debate she also admitted that she had no idea but that she would certainly ask for a plan of approach. Unbelievable!
Suppose there was a desire to levy a higher tax on bonuses. And the responsible minister says: okay, excellent plan, really important that we are going to do this. But first let’s give them the chance to pay that extra tax. If that fails in three years, I will make sure that a law is in place to arrange it. A new cabinet can then see what they will do with it. You know what, I’m going to start Monday!
Despite this great frustration, I refuse to become an old nag.. I keep clearing litter with the thought that every little bit helps. But I understand very well that all those thousands and thousands of volunteer litterpickers are demotivated. Buck up people, if it does not happen that one way, or the other way, we just take the way straight towards our goal!