It began with a blasé comment from my flatmate. Until then I’d happily pick up my Metro every morning without a thought – pleased with my freebie which doubled up as both a tool for distraction and an occasional weapon.
‘You know it’s part of the Daily Mail.’
‘What?’ I scoffed, sceptically.
‘No, seriously – look at this.’ And via the power of Google there he stood brandishing the proof. Smug bastard!
I gulped. ‘You mean I’ve effectively been a… [wretch] a… [wretch]… a Daily Mail reader for the past five years?’
I shuddered with the realisation. I had to question a lot about myself that week…
I hadn’t given it much thought again until last week, when I spotted an advert from TFL’s latest campaign, professing: ‘The newspaper you’re reading is rubbish’ – you’ve got to love that double entendre!
I looked into it a little further, in case TFL shared my thoughts on the Daily Mail – unfortunately they don’t appear to, but it did highlight this: how many times have you, like me, preparing a swift exit off the Tube, squashed your paper between the seats or rolled it up and plonked it behind you in anticipation of the next passenger – without a thought of where all those neatly stacked morning Metros end up? According to TFL, last year there were 327 litter-related incidents such as delays, signal failures and suspensions caused simply from newspapers and litter making their way onto tracks, jamming doors and signalling equipment.
And it’s not just trains and Tube trains – hop on a bus after a hurricane of school kids and you’ll understand why penny-counting pensioners are no longer the bus drivers’ number one nemesis: newspapers scattered everywhere like large deposits of confetti – bulky, ill-coloured confetti, with no sense of occasion at that. It’s not a pleasant sight. It seems unfitting that as a generation of recyclers we are all guilty of abandoning papers, wiping our hands of them and passing the responsibility onto someone else.
Although I can empathise with those who may want to toss the paper into the lap of the nearest passenger when you realise its in league with the Daily Hate, your paper could be one of those which cause those f-word delays.
So next time you reach for a freebie, take your paper to work with you, pop it under your arm in a quintessentially gentlemanly manner or look out for a recycling bin – because the paper you’re reading may very well be rubbish.