There is no doubt we live in a ‘throwaway’ society and despite the endless pleas of poverty we all persist in purchasing stuff that ultimately generates huge amounts of unwanted rubbish.
There are a variety of options when it comes to getting rid of it but one of our favourites is simply to hurl it out of the car window.
You cannot drive 20 yards on even the tiniest back lane without encountering empty cans of energy drinks, general litter, sweet wrappers and fried chicken boxes that have been lobbed onto the highway by drivers.
These lazy pigs are turning the county’s roads into a squalid litter-trail from coast to coast and unless your local bobby happens to be on the scene at the time there’s simply no way of stopping it.
But somebody has to pay to have it cleared up and although it would appear that our local authority’s efforts to pick it up are, at best, desultory, it is costing us as a nation around a £1 billion a year to bag it all up and dispose of it.
Latest figures from The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) indicate that there were 825,000 cases of littering and fly-tipping reported last year although only a miserable 2000 of them were actually prosecuted.
But it seems that these horrible, careless people are likely to be pursued with greater vigour in the future if the increased powers for local councils to punish these desecrators of our countryside are enacted.
Action is needed and although politicians give every impression that it isn’t something which comes very high on their agendas, it would seem the man in the street is beginning to realise the problem is becoming an environmental catastrophe and needs sorting.
It’s hard to understand why so many of us have such low regard for the environment but the ‘cosy bubble’ atmosphere we enjoy as we tootle along safely protected from the outside world in our metal boxes has much to do with it.
We’re isolated from the environment with the heater on full and Radio Drivel blasting from the speakers and what’s going to happen if our dirty snotty tissue joins all the others lining our roads? Nothing!
Who’s going to notice another coffee cup or fag butt? Nobody!
Research shows that once you tidy an area and get it spotless, the litter louts find it harder to simply chuck their rubbish down because it is more obvious you’ve dropped it.
Our attitude has to change before the problem turns into an epidemic and it all starts with our own back yards.
Ring the council hotline when you see litter or fly tipping and plague the merry hell out of them until it’s gone, do your bit and collect up the stuff blowing past your driveway.
This Saturday is “Community Clear-Up Day” – a nationwide spring-clean event, if you want to know more go to www.keepbritaintidy.org or call West Norfolk Council on 01553 616200 to report litter or fly tipping.
n What do you think can be done to make our highways and byways cleaner and tidier? Let us know your thoughts on firstname.lastname@example.org