Murray Duncan’s letter (9 March) on the appalling amount of litter which is now thrown down by (mainly) Scottish residents, together with the complete apathy shown by members of the public, contractors, construction companies and local government towards blighting the Scottish landscape in many other ways, is deserving of as much – if not more – discussion as the independence question which he links to Scottish “pride”.
There is clearly a problem with the thoughtlessness of people who do not think twice about throwing down rubbish, accumulating piles of waste materials, leaving disused equipment to rust in open view, failing to clean up partly demolished buildings and not cleaning up dog litter.
It is noticeable, and embarrassing, when visiting the vast majority of small English towns and villages, to see the gulf which has opened up between the two countries in terms of visual appearance and, yes, pride in ensuring that they look immaculate at all times.
Doubtless, there must also be areas of England which suffer from mindless personal behaviour or sheer laziness on litter disposal but, in spite of the huge population difference, the non-urban English landscape appears to be light years ahead of Scotland’s in terms of detritus-free streets and countryside as well as sheer pride in presentation of appearance.
It is probably much too late to change the habits of a lifetime among many members of the Scottish population who consistently ignore the need to behave properly when considering the repercussions of thoughtless or selfish waste disposal – in whatever shape that might take.
This entire problem, however, needs to be urgently addressed. It is down to re-education, not by the teaching profession, but by the parents and guardians whose responsibility it is to set an example to the young.
Even if we started now, it will take at least a generation to clean up Scotland. If nothing is done, the mind boggles at the additional damage which will have been caused to both the country’s appearance and economy in 20 years.
The independence question is a total irrelevance in a deteriorating situation whose solution is down to nothing other than recognising and instilling proper Scottish citizenship and manners in future generations.
Independence has nothing to do with how people behave in public.
It is time to look at a new approach to the problem of litter. Supermarkets and the soft drinks industry could and should make a contribution to help clear the streets.
In the past glass bottles were returned to a shop and a small refund given.
If a buyer brought back to the supermarket, say, ten soft drink or water bottles they could then be rewarded with perhaps a voucher to buy something in the store. The containers would then be recycled by the shop.