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Initiative aims to clear streets of chewing gum

Posted on: Friday, October 30th, 2015

A national campaign has been launched to help clear the streets of litter, it has been reported.

The Chewing Gum Action Group has helped to transform one of the busiest streets in London as part of a drive to reduce gum litter and highlight the scale of the problem.

Campaigners from the group drew yellow circles around every piece of discarded chewing gum they came across on Oxford Street to draw attention to the amount of gum that is dropped.

Water soluble fluorescent chalk was used between the corner of John Prince's Street and Holles Street and the reactions of the public was documented as they came across the bright yellow patches across the streets.

This month representatives from the campaign group have been steadily removing chewing gum from the streets as part of a bid to make them cleaner.

Rory Stewart MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment & Rural Affairs, helped to kickstart the campaign.

He said: "Spitting out or dropping chewing gum stains streets and is a blight on our towns and cities. Councils spend around £56 million per year cleaning up the horrible mess it leaves and so I'm pleased to see efforts to help highlight the problem. I look forward to seeing the results of this year's campaign."

The annual campaign has been running for ten years now and is part of a collaboration between the chewing gum industry, the government and environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy.

They work together with councils and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) across the country to help to cut down on the amount of chewing gum that is discarded.

Campaigners claim that their projects have helped to significantly lower the amount of gum on the streets.

It highlighted an average fall in gum litter of 38 per cent in participating areas, with a 90 per cent reduction in one community. 

Last year, the amount of gum removed from Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street was equal to the size of around 12 football pitches.

This year, nine BIDs and local authorities from across the UK will be participating in the campaign and areas in West London, Birmingham, Northern Ireland, Lincolnshire, Scotland, Hampshire, Merseyside and Cambridge will be targeted.

Commenting, Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive at Keep Britain Tidy, which is a partner in CGAG, said: "We are proud to be the only group that comes together to tackle the problem of chewing gum litter, and we are committed to supporting local authorities and BIDs to improve the quality of our public spaces, creating a cleaner and greener place to work and live.

"Since the campaign began ten years ago, the aim has always been to raise awareness of chewing gum litter, whilst encouraging residents and shoppers in the local area to engage with the campaign so that we can create a sense of local pride. We have no doubt we can make this year's campaign the most successful year yet."