Which is a slightly odd way of putting it. Does it really mean: “Don’t pick up your litter, just leave it where it is”?
I suppose it makes you think, though, which must be at least part of the point. And once I’d got past admiring the correct use of the apostrophe, what I thought about was those road workers.
On another recent journey – this one into Norwich along a congested A146 – I passed a small group in hi-vis jackets walking the verge with litter-pickers. And I thought what a truly ghastly job that must be.
Aside from the very real danger posed by the passing vehicles, the constant noise of them, the fumes and muck from the tyres must be a constant background irritation. Not to mention something of a health hazard.
And as for the litter itself – trying to keep down that ever-rising tide must feel like Canute ordering the North Sea to retreat.
Walk along any busy out-of-town road and you can’t fail to be appalled by the quantity of rubbish strewing the ditches and hedgerows.
It’s hard to see how much difference the very occasional team of garbage-grabbers can make. Or the odd cunningly-worded sign.
Years ago I wrote that the companies whose packaging makes up most of the drifting rubbish mountain should be made to pay for its proper disposal.
It’s interesting, then, to see that this idea has surfaced, sort of, in the corridors of power.
In January Parliament’s Communities and Local Government Committee took evidence in its inquiry on litter.
Wakefield’s council leader Peter Box told them: “Keeping streets clean costs taxpayers nearly £1billion each year.”
He spoke about “the unacceptable levels of litter outside some fast-food outlets and the piles of cigarette butts outside some pubs, as well as discarded chewing-gum on high-street pavements, which costs each town centre £60,000 a year to clean up”.
And he said: “A number of councils have been pioneering tough but fair approaches. Alongside public campaigns, many are now asking businesses to clean up and provide bins outside their premises.”
Which is good, I suppose, as far as it goes. A sticking plaster applied to a wound that needs major surgery.
A few bins and a few brooms may make a small difference in town-centre streets but none at all to the problem of a trash-filled countryside.
How many plastic bottles and old crisp packets are lying right now along the highways and byways of Norfolk? How many tons of aluminium lie in the form of crushed cans around the roads of Britain?
Can we expect Walkers and Coca-Cola and all the other purveyors of brightly packaged drinks and snacks to pay for a proper clean-up?
I’d like to think so. And I’d like to see a herd of winged pigs swoop elegantly past my upper-storey window.
Martin Kersh doesn’t think the companies behind the problem should have to pay anything. Even for the rubbish littering the pavements right outside their doors.
He argues: “It’s illogical to say companies create litter. Businesses create the products, but no product throws itself on the ground without consumer intervention. What is needed is strict enforcement of legislation regarding littering.”
Mr Kersh is executive director of the Foodservice Packaging Association, so he would say that, wouldn’t he?
The real problem is not the unsightliness of old food wrappers at the roadside. It’s not even the harm old bits of plastic can do wildlife – which is unquantifiable, but real.
It’s the sheer wastefulness of a species steadily and pointlessly turning the natural resources of the world into a pollution nightmare.
Out in the wild ocean is an enormous area known to geographers as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It’s full of old bits of discarded plastic washed there by sea currents from around the world.
No one knows quite how much plastic is there, how big the patch will grow or how much damage it will do. But if one thing sums up our trashing of the planet, that’s it.
The rubbish by our roadsides is the merest tip of a global iceberg. It’s a sobering thought what may happen when the berg starts to melt down.
Meanwhile, before you chuck that fag packet out of your car window, spare a thought for the poor road worker who may have to pick it up. It may be a fairly thankless life, but it’s a life.
I had the Football League Cup on my desk the other day. Well, the desk of the bloke working next to me. Being a Liverpool supporter (semi-final losers), he wasn’t that impressed.
In a curious stunt, the trophy apparently made a tour of national paper sports desks in the couple of days before it was presented to Chelsea at Wembley. Whether this garnered the sponsors a single extra public mention, I rather doubt.
But they had another go on final day itself, delivering boxloads of pies and gravy to those same teams of working journalists.
I suppose they couldn’t really give away freebies of the sponsors’ actual product. Pity really. It’s a bank.