A PLASTIC, casually tossed into the hedgerow,takes about 1,000 years to break down.
Long after mankind has colonised Mars, emptied the very last fish from the seas and reintroduced an atmosphere to Slough, the container once holding 500ml of mineral water will still be there.
Its former health-conscious owner will long since have been turned to ashes, in fact there is a good chance we all will.
Plastic probably demonstrates as well as anything how the human animal is not as clever as it thinks.
Glass quite quickly becomes the silicon dust it started as and metal rusts and crumbles in a few short years, as any 80s Lancia enthusiast can tell you. But plastic, unless recycled, lasts for what may as well be considered eternity.
Obviously the advantage of plastic is that it can be granulated and reformed quite easily. Not, however, whentossed into a hedgehog's house by a member of the Lycra tendency.
You would have thought a civilization able to invent X Factor could come up with an alternative. After all there are many examples of our technologies in everyday use.
Take the Vauxhall Astra Tourer. It has something called Onstar. That's not like On The Busesor on the dole and certainly not to be confused with OneD but a connectivity device which, via the magic of the smartphone app, wi-fies the touchscreen.
And this is very clever because say, for instance, you are thick enough to lose your car, it will tell you by mobile phone where it is while the rest of us are wandering up and down long-stay parking thumbing the key fob to get the hazards going.
With this app you can find pizza, remotely unlock doors, enjoy emails on the vehicle's health and turn on your washing machine. That last bit is not true. Nobody wants to sexually stimulate a domestic appliance.
There is even a human operator to talk to. Imagine that.
I'm banging on about the downloadable do dahs because, having reviewed the Astra before the only thing new I have to tell you is that this is the estate version.
Well not quite. The 1.6i 200ps Turbo is powered by a new petrol 198bhp engine which pushes the Tourer to 62mph in a satisfying 7.2 seconds. £22,575 English pounds to you.
Economy is good, expect a rounded 40mpg overall and tax comes out at £145.
For what is a good sized estate handling is excellent while more sedate progress is smooth and quiet. That performance is certainly not compromised by a lack of confidence in the fun department.
The rest is Astra SRi. Same equipment, including a navigator, automated functions and full safety manifest. Nothing outstanding and nothing to disappoint.
Extras included parking sensors for Â£450 and a ‘fragrance diffuser' at Â£40. I prefer aftershave myself.
Asthis is an estatehere are some capacity numbers; seat up 540 litres of luggage, seat down 1,630.
The trouble is not all luggage is the shape of water. For instance the Volvo V40 has an odd pinched shape and low roof despite being able to accommodate a sea of orange juice.
This means boxes have gaps around so, short of stuffing your knickers in loose, there is wasted space.
Let us just say here there are no dodgy edges and the roof line means the dog can stand up.
You know just how good the latest Astra is because even though the press launch was in the same week VW developed a small emissions problem Vauxhall did not find itself playing second fiddle, if you will pardon the term, to events elsewhere.
Now the fall out, or soot fall if you prefer, from measurements in the USA has begun its world tour of the American judicial system.
And I think that one may run in many guises for as long as it takes to turn a bottle of Culloden spring mineral magic to dust.