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Smokers: Over 29M butts were thrown onto UK roads last year along with discarded food and used tissues



Does it feel like you are driving your van through filthier streets every day?

What has been termed “Carbage” is becoming a greater problem on Britain’s roads.

More than 17.4 million items of food and 5.2 million tissues and 29 million cigarette ends are being thrown from vehicle windows each year.

This data was revealed through a survey conducted by the Green Flag breakdown service. It shows the sheer scale of the problem that discarded rubbish is causing to the environment and road users.

However the survey made it quite apparent that few drivers seem to want to take responsibility for their messy actions. It states 27% of driver’s excuse their actions by claiming they throw items out to prevent smell building up and 22% say it is to prevent their car becoming cluttered. A further 17% of lazy drivers claim they couldn’t wait for a bin, and 16% said they couldn’t stop to deposit items because the road was too busy.

Whilst van drivers need not worry about dropping cigarette ends from their windows (smoking in vans is illegal as any good driver should know), but they should know that they can suffer a £80 fixed penalty notice if caught dropping litter, or £100 from agents of London’s local authorities. They should also be aware that if they eat, drink or smoke behind the wheel, they risk between three and nine penalty points for not driving with due care and attention.

The worst affected areas of drive-by littering are London at 21% and the South East at 21%, falling to 15% in the North West, South West and Scotland. Wales, the Midlands and North East are in the middle with around 16% admitting to throwing out items.

Miranda Schunke, a spokesperson for Green Flag, said, “It is disgraceful that our roads are being clogged up with rubbish from motorists who are too lazy to find a bin… Not only is litter unsightly, it is hazardous to the wildlife that lives in our verges and hedgerows and can pose a risk to other road users. All drivers have a responsibility to keep our roads clean and safe.” Including, of course, business van drivers.

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