You can usually tell when it’s going to happen. You’re driving along behind a car and a straw wrapper sails from out of a rolled-down passenger window.
This is quickly followed by a chip bag, a crisp packet or maybe even a paper takeaway bag or burger box.
During 2016, 52 per cent of Scottish adults have spotted someone throwing litter from a vehicle and not picking it up.
The statistic comes from environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB) which is campaigning to clean up Scotland’s roadsides.
Give Your Litter A Lift, Take It Home aims to raise awareness of the impacts of roadside litter and change the behaviour of those who throw litter from vehicles.
The charity is working in partnership with various public bodies and has secured funding from big hitters in the private sector, including McDonald’s and the British Soft Drinks Association.
And it appears the campaign has come at just the right time.
A KSB survey showed that 88 per cent of adults agreed roadside litter created a negative impression of Scotland, ruining the view for visitors and domestic road users alike.
And recent litter monitoring by the charity also revealed that more than 96 per cent of Scotland’s main roads and iconic routes are affected by litter.
Now, the campaign is being backed by Central Scotland MSP and Falkirk Bairn Alison Harris.
The Conservative politician is not only concerned about local roadsides, but also litter running along canal towpaths.
She said: “Roads throughout Scotland are disfigured by windblown litter and the roads across Falkirk are not immune from this.
“Council employees who clean up this litter tell me that within a few days of picking this rubbish up, it’s as bad as ever.
“There is so much pressure on council budgets now so every pound we spend in picking up litter, less goes to schools and old people’s homes.
“It won’t happen over night – there’s not a magic wand – but I believe the message will get through that litter is socially unacceptable.”
Alison’s colleague Graham Simpson, MSP for Central Scotland, is also backing the KSB cause.
He said: “This is a very worthwhile campaign aimed at getting the message across that leaving litter anywhere is unacceptable.
“I see it all the time in the area I represent and it is one of the biggest complaints I receive from constituents.
“I have also spent nine years as a councillor and this is one of the biggest bugbears among local people.
“It doesn’t matter where you live, litter is a problem, so I am happy to back this campaign.
“People do get very angry when they see someone chucking litter – and it’s just plain lazy.
“It’s bad for the environment, for wildlife and, ultimately, someone has to clean it up.
“So the message that has to be re-inforced is: don’t just chuck it, take it home with you and bin it.”
Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “As a direct response to our country’s roadside litter problem, we have launched this campaign with a wide range of stakeholders including industry, the public sector and charities.
“We are very grateful for Alison and Graham’s support.
“We recognise that to tackle this disgusting and illegal habit, we all need to work in partnership, to raise awareness of the problem of throwing litter from a vehicle, and to trial innovative solutions to change current littering behaviours.
“Our message is simple – give your litter a lift, take it home!”
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “Our aim is to make Scotland a sustainable destination through promoting environmental accreditation and practices.
“We welcome the launch of Keep Scotland Beautiful’s new campaign to cut down the amount of litter on our roadsides and to help ensure that this country remains a hugely attractive destination to visitors from all over the world.”
To find out more about supporting the campaign or taking your litter home, call 01786 471333, visit www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org or email info@keep scotlandbeautiful.org.