Chewing Gum Pollution in the UK

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The chewing gum market has been steadily increasing in recent years, particularly in the sugar-free sector. Whilst many consumers dispose of their gum responsibly, it is still being frequently dropped onto public pavements, with Defra reporting that such acts contribute the most to staining on pavements. Their annual report also states that this occurs mostly around public facilities like schools, cinemas and swimming pools.

With this in mind it is no wonder that the government has high aims to diminish this problem and increase the amount of pavement cleaning. Dropping chewing gum is already classed as littering, prosecutable with a fine and even a criminal record. Many local authorities in the UK appoint street wardens who can issue a £50 fine on the spot if someone is caught in the act.

Another government strategy has been an attempt to reach an agreement with chewing gum manufacturers in employing the ‘polluter pays' principle, in which companies who contribute to the pollution of the environment are deemed responsible for their actions. Voluntary schemes have been proposed whereby the sale of gum in areas of heavy deposition is restricted. However many local authorities have deemed this scheme impractical.

Instead, many local authorities run campaigns to raise the awareness of the problem. Bournemouth Council for example has recently introduced GumTarget boards - posters displaying images that have been nominated by the public erected in areas of high deposition. Bournemouth Council has reported this campaign to be very successful, with a significant decline in chewing gum found on pavements.

Specialist pavement and concrete cleaning companies have been employed by the government for numerous clean up operations. A common practice of these companies is to use a unique pavement impregnation system that whilst invisible to the naked eye repels all future staining, including chewing gum. There are many advantages of this system - one being that it comes with a 5 year unconditional guarantee that the impregnated areas will remain clean.

Many pedestrian precincts and footways have used the pavement impregnation system - it is resistant not only to chewing gum stains but also to tyre marking and aggressive chemicals, whilst remaining sustainable and environmentally friendly. The government hopes to ensure that with the employment of this service and a campaign to reduce chewing gum litter, more public areas in the UK will be looking clean and beautiful again.

This article was written by Community Clean

About Community Clean: We have a wide range of experience working in both the public and private sectors tackling nuisance issues, regeneration projects, high access challenges and environmental enhancement. Our specialist graffiti removal service involves the use of state-of-the-art machinery and the latest in highly advanced products to remove graffiti and paint from virtually any surface.

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