When north businessman Rory Stone is not busy making cheese he loves feeling the wind through his “thinning locks” as he rides his motorcycle on Highland roads.
But he told The Press and Journal his “Easy Rider dream” on the iconic North Coast 500 route was recently spoiled by “disgusting trails of litter”.
He wants policymakers to look abroad for innovative answers to the problem.
Mr Stone, who runs Highland Fine Cheeses in Tain, described motorcycling as his “guilty secret”.
Highland roads not so perfect
He added: “I live in a part of the world where the roads are made for it.
“So, life should be an Easy Rider dream – wind blowing through my thinning locks and the two-lane blacktop flowing away in front of me through wild and verdant country that people come from all round the world to see.
“Right? Well, no. Unfortunately, quite wrong.
“Every trip in these dispiriting times is marred by disgusting trails of litter along the sides of the road; trails which grow into heaps at junctions or roundabouts and scar the very countryside for which Scotland is justly famous.
“Through my helmet – when it’s not obscured by a flying poly bag or a McDonalds wrapper – the thing that leaps out at me is the number of Red Bull cans I see.
“This is a puzzle. Is it just that I recognise the branding or are energy drinks fans more likely to be tossers – of litter, I hasten to add.”
Fed up of litter on NC500 and other beauty spots
He went on: “And talking of McDonalds, what possesses the people who scoff their Happy Meals in their cars, neatly collect all the debris in the carry-out bag and then drive to a beauty spot to fling it out of the window?
“Are they the same people who put their dog poop in a plastic bag and leave it alongside a country trail? I suspect so.”
The 59-year-old continued: “’I’m not alone in being really fed up with the tsunami of litter which is blighting what used to be a green and pleasant land.
“When it comes to litter and fly-tipping, it is anarchy. Penalties are ridiculously low.
Mr Stone said he would like to see fines increase to £1,000, rather than their current £65-100.
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Keep Britain Tidy estimates around two million pieces of litter are dropped every day in the UK, racking up an annual bill of in the region of £1 billion for street cleaning alone.
Mr Stone said: “While it is all very well mumping about the minority – and you have to hope it is a minority – who disfigure our countryside, the more pertinent question is what can be done about it?
“Well, other countries have some novel solutions.
Tough on litter, tough on the cause
“Singapore has pioneered urine detection systems which automatically lock offenders in and call the police.
“That island nation’s litter laws are strictly enforced by plain-clothes officers and surveillance technology, and offenders are faced with punishments including fines and community cleaning.”
In Taiwan, households take full responsibility for their waste and littering there is “unthinkable”, he said.
“In many American states, convicts in shaming orange jumpsuits are set to the task of picking up litter from the sides of roads,” he added.
The increasingly “shabby” landscape cannot have gone unnoticed among Scottish politicians, he said, adding: “Where I am, the success of the NC500 is already under threat from the lack of infrastructure, the cost of fuel and inflation.
“It seems self-immolating to add more negatives by allowing the country to be turned into a dump.”