fuels. Some estimates have 7-20% of all cancers resulting from airpollution alone. Diseases carried in water are responsible for 80% of illnesses and deaths in developing countries, killing a child everyeight seconds. Each year 2.1 million people die from diseasesassociated with poor water. Contaminated land is a problem inindustrialized countries, where former factories and power stationscan leave waste like heavy metals in the soil. Agriculture can polluteland with pesticides, nitrate-rich fertilizers and feces from livestock.And when the contamination reaches rivers it damages life there aswell.
Drugs and alcohol
—A York University study says heroin and crackcocaine addiction costs the UK £19 billion a year, with each addictcosting £600 per week in crime costs and court time, health careand unemployment benefits. Also, excessive drinking is on the risein the United States and the UK, costing millions of dollars in healthcare costs and tens of thousands of drinking-related deaths eachyear.
—The UK estimates its cities pay about £150,000 a year ongum removal. On London's shopping main shopping road, OxfordStreet, for example, there are more than 300,000 pieces of chewinggum. The City Council spends more than £100,000 a year dealingwith the problem. Some people are calling for a gum tax to offsetthe cost of this externality while others want the manufacturers topay the cost of making biodegradable forms of gum.
The movement of food
—A UK government report found that theenvironmental cost of moving food was as much as £9bn a year. This is a result of increased truck traffic delivering the food, traveltime of the consumer to get the food, overall traffic congestion,traffic accidents, and pollution as a result of the shipments.
Coase’s theorem states that given well-defined property rights, lowbargaining costs, perfect competition, perfect information and the absence of wealth and income effects, resources will be used efficiently and identicallyregardless of who owns them. To understand Coase’s argument, we must look at an example, first. Take anindividual who buys property directly next to a loud factory which has beenoperating for 25 years. This individual then builds a music recording studioon the side of his property directly next to the noisy factory. Assuming theindividual knew the factory created a lot of noise, are they able to file for aninjunction against the factory for making too much noise? Coase’s first step,as I have shown with this example, is to establish that externalities (such as