If you watch BBC Breakfast or GMTV, or enjoy Radio 1's blessed three minute news relief from the vacuous pus pit that is Chris Moyles every half hour, or caught a flash of the Daily Mail's skinnier, freebie sister The Metro on your way to work this morning, you may have noticed a royal PR drive from the Keep Britain Tidy camp. And I thought "AT BLOODY LAST", because they're right on the case about the one thing more likely to cause me road rage than some immensely incompetent idiot tailgating me on the middle lane of the motorway...and that is someone even more immensely incompetent throwing litter (that includes fag butts, you dutty smokers) out of their car window and onto the road / a grass verge.
It is - ipso facto - the one thing that winds me up so much that steam rises from my ears and out the sunroof, turning my car into some sort of novelty teapot; yet short of beeping my horn, ramming my car into the back of theirs or learning sign language for "pick it up, you dirty crackfiend", there's not a lot you can do about it. On Tuesday night, while I was busy three getting lost on my way to West Hampstead thanks to the North Circular's nightly crash closure messing up my AA route finder directions, I saw a paper cup being thrown from the van in front. A cup. Who the hell throws a cup out of their window, biodegradable or not? Since when was the road a bin?
Every time I drive on the motorway I'm glad not to be in the passenger seat, because when you're not busy DJing, what is there to look at? A glance out of the window reveals the grass verges of the British countryside absolutely strewn with litter. Crisp packets, clothing, chocolate wrappers, cups, plastic packaging and fag butts just thrown out of an open window by people too lazy, selfish and uncouth to take responsibility for their own waste.
I'm like look, it's not hard sweetheart - just do as I do. Scrunch your rubbish up and shove it in the glove compartment and side pockets of your car. When that's full, use the foot well of the passenger seat, then every 2/3/4/5 (delete as appropriate) weeks, grab a Sainsbury's bag and collect it all up. Then take it into your house, as you would a bag of shopping, and throw it in with your household waste. Simple. Better yet, your car will be in such a state that you won't have to give your friends lifts anywhere because they can't get in, and your hair won't get messed up on car journeys from opening the window every two minutes to dispose of your mess. Everyone's a winner.
Keep Britain Tidy basically want to change the law so you can get an on the spot fine and points on your licence for being a dirty, littering bugger (for that is where the term litter bug originates...and if that's not fact, it is now) and I personally am all for it. If you don't use the road as a waste disposal unit, why would anyone object?
And ironically, just as I was contemplating this news story at the traffic lights this morning, the well groomed, tidy looking woman in the sports car in front of me inhaled her final puff, and threw the cigarette out of the window where it lay smoking on the ground. Smokers, you choose to smoke - fair do's, go for it, fill yer boots. But keep the butts to yourself, that's what your car ashtray's for. So clear out the 10ps and pound coins, and start using it.
But for those of us - smokers and non - who don't impose our dirty ming mong disposables on everyone else, who sit behind those who do at the lights - what can we do? It seems recycling and keeping clean literally goes out the window as soon as people leave the house.
Keep Britain Tidy have got a monster on their hands.