Northumberland County Council spends around £2.6million a year in clearing up rubbish from our roadsides.
That £2.6million could be spent on libraries, social care, road improvements and leisure facilities.
It is twice as much in one year as most people will earn in a lifetime.
In a laudable attempt to do something about this problem, the council launched a publicity campaign aimed at encouraging people not to drop litter. This seems to mainly consist of adverts on the back of buses and petrol pumps.
Sadly, I fear this campaign will not make the slightest difference. Those who chuck rubbish out of their vehicle windows are unlikely to be deterred by a poster asking them to ‘Love their county’.
I recently walked around 10 miles of quiet country lanes where I live and picked up all the litter from the grass verges – drink cans, glass bottles, plastic water bottles, energy drink bags, crisp packets, sweet wrappers, cigarette packets, bits of cars, cattle feed bags, plastic buckets, pizza cartons, cardboard coffee cups and polystyrene food containers.
I drew the line at builders’ rubble as it was too heavy to carry.
In total, I picked up an astonishing 60kg of rubbish.
Six weeks later, I started again and am well on the way to another 30kg, which has been thrown out of vehicles or chucked by cyclists.
I applaud the council for at least attempting to do something about this scourge of littering, but despair of the selfish mentality that causes the problem in the first place.