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Have you noticed recently how littered the UK’s roads are becoming? It’s all too easy to drive past excessive amounts of road litter and not bat an eyelid, but think of the pedestrians who have to put up with it on a daily basis.
Okay, so they may well be part of the cause, but a lot of road litter accumulates from drivers absent-mindedly throwing discarded food and other items out of the window, without a thought to how this could affect Britain’s roads in general.
This week, the Highways Agency is calling on all road users to help tackle roadside litter on England’s motorways and major A roads, claiming that it removes approximately one quarter of a million sacks of litter from the motorways every year.
A roadside message campaign last summer reminding drivers to dispose of their litter in a more responsible fashion led to a decrease in the amounts of litter collected on motorways in the North West and the East Midlands, but there is still more that needs to be done.
Roads Minister Mike Penning comments:”Litter is an unsightly and unnecessary burden and one that we can easily avoid – that’s why I am asking people to take one simple step towards make the roads a safer and more pleasant environment for everyone. The money and staff resources spent removing nearly a quarter of a million sacks of litter from England’s motorways could be far better spent elsewhere.
“Following the ‘Bag it, Bin it!’ message is an easy way to reduce litter. If all drivers kept a bag in their vehicle to store rubbish and then disposed of it safely, it would be a really positive move in tackling roadside litter.”
Roadside litter is not only unsightly, but is also a threat to the environment and wildlife and can block drains and cause flooding. For highway authorities, clearing litter diverts much-needed resources away from road maintenance and repairs, while items thrown from moving vehicles can be a hazard to other road users. Clearing litter off motorways and busy A roads can also be a very dangerous job and is costing the Highways Agency large sums of money which could be better spent on road surface maintenance and structural repairs.
With the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games fast approaching, it’s a great time to Keep Britain Tidy so that we can be proud of our country and our roads and provide visitors with safe and pleasant journeys during the Games and beyond.