The Chewing Gum Epidemic Continues to Spread!

Clean Sweep UK
March 05, 2015

Chewing Gum Epidemic

Chewing gum has been a thorn in the side of street cleaners and local councils for decades now. The sticky mess is plastered on the pavements of almost every major city in the world and this plague of gum is a cause for concern for environmentalists too. So much is the issue in Singapore that they have officially banned the use or sale/purchase of chewing gums altogether.

The chewing gum epidemic in the UK is spreading fast and getting worse; many people argue the companies themselves must be responsible for the cleaning of the chewing gum mess. However, this is neither likely nor feasible, so the problem is only set to continue.

Appeal for Chewing Gum Manufacturers to Pay Up

According to a report made by The Daily Mail, chewing gum companies are being urged to help towards the £60 million bill issued for cleaning the mess of chewing gum off city centre streets. This appeal was issued on the 14th November 2014 by local councils and the Local Government Association. This association represents around 400 councils in England and Wales.

 

The average cost of a piece of chewing gum is around 3 pence, but this increase fifty times to £1.50 in order to clean it up. The same councils are also urging manufacturers to use a different type of gum that is biodegradable. Even the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, called for a stop to the chewing gum epidemic back in 2010. You can read his account on this situation in his article for The Telegraph.

Banned in Singapore

The problem of chewing gum vandalism is so bad in Singapore that there is currently a strict legal ban on importing the stuff. Since the year 2004, chewing gum may only be prescribed by a doctor and only gum of a healing nature is permitted into the region. This is all controlled by the ‘Regulation of Imports and Exports (Chewing Gum) Regulations.’ These regulations impose a $500 fine for spitting gum on the streets.

Albeit this is a slightly aggressive and strong approach, but at least it is an effort to combat the problem; especially considering the fact that Singapore’s chewing gum issues were much bigger than ours. Following the economic boom caused by the manufacturing industry, immense wealth entered the country. This also brought widespread vandalism in the poorer/younger parts of the population. Pavements, staircases, busses, public parks and a brand new $5 billion metro system were covered in chewing gum.

The metro system alone became a constant target, with chewing gum regularly left on seats, door sensors, lights and arm rests. This was causing epic financial problems for the metro system and agony for the maintenance staff. This was the final straw for the Singapore leaders and they imposed a full-scale ban to prevent the problem from spiralling further.

Do Your Bit

Obviously, the chewing gum problem is not as severe over here in the UK, but that doesn’t mean it does not exist. Ultimately, it is down to the user to dispose of their chewing gum responsibly and not the manufacturers/street cleaners. If you regularly purchase chewing gum then do your bit to help by disposing of your gum properly. This can be achieved by simply wrapping the gum in paper and placing it in the bin. Its common sense really, you wouldn’t throw it on the floor of your home so why do it outside? Being responsible with your waste will ensure we are able to walk down cleaner, nice looking streets!