Alan Blinder {op-ed, Aug. 18} argued for a market approach to environmental control to raise the costs to polluting factories and thereby encourage efficient use of abatement and alternate production technologies. Joel Hirschhorn and Kirsten Oldenburg, in response {op-ed, Aug. 25}, argued that the government should provide information, technical assistance and regulation to encourage industry to adopt waste reduction programs. However, both of these proposals are flawed in not addressing a major source of environmental pollution.

Pollution is not just caused by "them" -- the corporate giants. It is also caused by "us" -- the consuming public. An effective antipollution program will have to focus on the latter source too. I suggest an alternative proposal that is less grandiose, but far more practical, than the schemes envisioned by those three writers.

Recent events in New York and New Jersey show clearly that we are literally awash in garbage. Dump sites are being closed, and landfills are almost full. Similar problems will soon face the rest of the country.

Since every good produced by the economy will ultimately become trash, it is appropriate to charge an up-front fee for those items that will cause disposal problems in the future. Such a fee or tax would be imposed at the time of manufacture on items that are hazardous or nonbiodegradable and nonrecyclable. In the long run, this plan would encourage production of household goods, chemicals, packaging and other items that are easier to dispose of and, therefore, less disruptive to the environment.

The plan would not be difficult to implement because production data are usually readily available and tax collection and enforcement mechanisms are well defined. This alternative, though limited in scope, would help shift the economy toward production of biodegradable goods and generate extra revenues that could be used to clean up existing dump sites and improve waste treatment technologies.