Thursday, 9 July 2009

Litter Bug

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.


Reluctant Blogger said...

Oh yes, definitely. I am always telling people to pick up their rubbish. It does not make me very popular!

I came here though re the picking of noses. Do people really use their thumbs? I just tried and it didn't work for me. Not that I ever pick my nose cos it is runs like a tap the whole time and never has any solid matter worth picking - just a little drip hovering provocatively off the end. What a charmer I am eh?

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Thing is, it's almost easier not to drop litter, it's just never something I was brought up to do.

Re: nose picking saga, yes, people do use their thumbs as a kind of stealth picking tool. Although then it just screams "I'M PICKING MY NOSE BUT I DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW IT!"

Plus, I just investigated the KBT website and they're doing a petition so if you see anyone dropping litter, you can report it.

miss*H said...

I confess to being one of those very annoying people who will either tut very loudly or tap a litter bug on the shoulder and very politely say "excuse me sir, I believe you just dropped something back there and i thought it may have been a prised possession so I brought it back to you. Please take more care in the future. You never know if there are thief’s about" :)

People throwing litter out on the motorway is really dangerous. I nearly had a major crash the other day when the passenger in the car in front of me chucked a chip paper out of the window which then landed on my windscreen!!! Idiots!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad about the campaign, and it's so annoying when you see people throw things out of their cars. I immediately attribute a number of negative characteristics to the disembodied arm sticking out of the window of the car in front. I think you conveyed it well with "crackfiend".

What I hadn't previously thought about, however, was apple cores being just as bad as normal litter, as despite being biodegradable they attract rats. No more apple cores on verges from me.

Lynx said...

Got to agree about the litter. I do the same in my car, except I go straight to the passenger footwell.

As for "the vacuous pus pit that is Chris Moyles", just re-tune to Terry Wogan. You know you want to! :-)

Mouldy-Old-Tartlet said...

Good posting. And dont get me started on the piles of litter that accumulate round bins - which are EMPTY. If you've ever wondered what sort of a society we've become then that just says it all.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

I guess it’s all a matter of perception because I have always found London to be relatively clean and litter-free. And I don’t know how Londoners do it, since there are NO waste receptacles to be had anywhere on the streets! Even though New York has been fairly well scrubbed since its Disney-fication, it’s still quite a mess.

BlackLOG said...

I was brought up not to throw litter onto the floor and so subsequently find it really hard to. I was at the 02 arena watching a concert recently. I asked one of the stewards where the nearest litter bin was. He just said chuck it on the floor. I explained that I didn’t want to and he looked at me like I was mental or something. It took me about 10 minuets to find a bin.

There is a web site where you can report incidents of people throwing rubbish out of their car Keep Britain tidy . We were traveling through Wales on Saturday and the car in front through a bottle out of the window. I took down the details but then lost them (I just hope they did not fly out of the car window, how inappropriate would that be!!! Even worse what happens if the car behind took down our details and reported us….Oh the shame) You can call it being a grass but I’m fed up with living in a rubbish tip.

Brennig said...

As a non-smoking, part-time motorcyclist it's my view that people who throw fags out of cars should be stoned to death. You might think that's a bit extreme, but I've had a lit fag flicked out of a lorry window on to my lap where it burned a mark in to my leathers.

So let's stone them to death and put an immediate end to the problem.

Brennig said...

p.s. Don't do Terry Wogan. That's a place for wrinklies. Do podcasts instead.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Miss H - Bloody hell, a chip wrapper? Nuts. As for telling people off, good on you, so you should. You're not half as annoying as those who throw litter on the ground in the first place.

blueskies - I confess to being an apple thrower in my youth, but now I feel far too self conscious to do even that. Although I try not to let apple cores remain in my car for 5 weeks ;)

Lynx - Tezza hasn't been on for a while, he's always on in our kitchen so I listen before I leave the house. I usually listen to my iPod in the car, but I tried Radio 1 and hated it, so now it's XFM (104.9) or my iPod.

MOT - That's just nuts as well, the height of absolute laziness.

Unbearable - It's not so much the streets of London, as the roadsides once you get out of the main hub. Drive along the M25 or the M1 and you'll be disgusted at the filth on the roadsides.

BlackLog - It must be hard to act on people who throw stuff, unless they're caught red handed. Otherwise it's a case of "You threw litter" "No I didn't" "Yes you did" "No, I didn't. Goodbye" "Oh."

Brennig - In light of your cigarette burns (which I as a non-smoker have also obtained far too many of) I say: Harsh, but fair. And I am partial to a bit of Dubstep podcastage, but since the demise of Russell Brand, I haven't found one that particularly tickles me.

Time Traveller said...

I have been known to pick rubbish up and give it back to the owner helpfully telling them they've dropped something :) I realise I could have been stabbed however and this does not help the car litter bugs issue ... but its better than nothing?

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