Abandoned engineering

Image thanks to Yesterday TV

Have you ever watched Abandoned Engineering? If not then you are missing out if that is your sort of thing. Now in its fifth series, the Yesterday TV show takes us around the world to look at engineering projects that were once at the cutting edge of their purpose but now lie abandoned, rotting and decaying. A clue is in the name.

The show teaches us a lot about the way that people engineered and invented their way through the problems they faced and the opportunities they addressed. I have learnt many things over the last five years and look forward to my Wednesday evenings.

Each week though I am horrified by what has been left, abandoned to the elements, with no attempt to clear up the mess that has been made. Stuff the consequences, we have sucked as much value as we can out of the project and off we go. Like a toddler that has lost interest in the toy in its hand, these projects are dropped without a further thought. The future is for someone elses to sort out.

Many of these facilities are in abandoned places though some are in urban settings. Some have been partially reclaimed for other uses yet most are just left to crumble into nothing given enough time. Most of them are ugly scars, blots on the landscape and leave a blighted legacy which will take centuries to disappear.

How can this be? How, as a species, can we be so callous with where we live? It is like living in a home that we never tidy up. As soon as we have had enough we just move on to the next Eden. 

The answer, I guess, is because there are no consequences. The individuals responsible for the plant or works have no responsibility for it once they have left. If anything is done then society will foot the bill and this will be absorbed in general taxation.

There should be consequences however. When we are done we should tidy up after ourselves. We do this with some industries, such as surface mining but not with all. Perhaps a levy should be made on all businesses that have the potential to leave an ugly legacy, an insurance policy that will pay to clean up the mess.

Perhaps in future I won’t be watching Abandoned Engineering, but ‘Pristine Former Engineering sites.’

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