The recent arrival of a new rector at Kelso High School could have provided an opportunity to end the daily lunchtime exodus of pupils into town, with all its attendant scattering of dross.
Sadly, but predictably, the routine stays the same and by 2pm the litter route once again sports the customary sea of plastic bottles, cans, cartons and other dross discarded as our young citizens make their way back to school. No doubt this continues to be mirrored at towns across the region.
One day recently, I counted and collected 27 new items of dross discarded at lunchtime in the course of my five-minute walk into town. I have also completely filled a bin bag from the rubbish on a small piece of waste land in Bowmont Street, and neighbours once again have the pleasure of their front gardens being used as handy disposal sites.
Scottish Borders Council does what it can with the community wardens and providing numerous bins, but until the sanction of ending this absurd exodus is applied, all efforts are doomed to be just drops in the ocean. The continued and wilful refusal of the educational establishment to understand that a significant number of pupils leave school with not a shred of civic pride, and go on to become the next generation of adult litter louts, is frankly staggering.
I have just watched the BBC television programme Autumnwatch, much of which was taken up with a report about the disastrous impact of beach and marine litter on seabirds. The report urged families to take a bag and clean up their local beach.
Welcome and commendable though such publicity is, it is futile until teachers take responsibility for driving home this message much more forcefully and backing it up by withdrawing those opportunities to litter that arise during the school day. But such a change of routine will never happen as long as it does not suit the schools.
Let us hope that Scottish Government legislation to end this ludicrous daily wasting of our townscapes is not long in coming.