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Council to take action against chewing gum litter

Tuesday, 12 June 2012 11:28

The ‘Do Douglas Proud…Bin Your Gum’ campaign will send out an unequivocal message that dropping chewing gum in a public place is a littering offence attracting a £50 fixed penalty.

The campaign begins on May 23 in Duke Street between its junctions with Victoria Street and Wellington Street. To highlight the staining effect caused after chewing gum is dropped onto paved surfaces the 40-metre stretch of pavement will have been deep cleaned across its full width, shopfront to shopfront, on May 22. A staining count will be conducted for 28 days starting on May 23 after which the pavement will be deep cleaned again, gum build-up measured 28 days later and normal cleansing routines resumed thereafter.

Environmental services advisory committee lead member Councillor Ritchie McNicholl said: ‘The Council has made a significant investment in support of town-centre regeneration but already we’re seeing unsightly staining on new paving in Nelson Street and Wellington Street caused by discarded chewing gum.

‘Chewing gum is the most difficult type of litter to deal with. Its stickiness means it’s resistant to normal cleaning methods such as street cleansing and litter picking, so more extreme - and costly - methods such as high-pressure steam cleaning have to be used which can have rate-borne implications.

‘At the heart of this campaign is the message that dropping gum in a public place is a littering offence and our enforcement team will have no hesitation in issuing an on-the-spot £50 fixed penalty to anyone seen committing what is a deeply antisocial offence that is blighting our town and has the potential to seriously compromise the efforts of the Council to raise environmental standards in Douglas.

‘Recent DLEQ (District Local Environmental Quality) surveys have highlighted that while Douglas may be scoring higher than the UK national average in some areas, it is falling far behind in combating the effects of gum staining.

‘In these uncertain economic times when trading conditions are difficult, we can ill afford to let environmental standards slide. The Council cannot, however, make positive change alone; it needs the support of the general public. The Council is therefore pleased to be aligned with the UK chewing gum action group and conduct this campaign that seeks to bring about long-term sustainable change in behaviour, educate the public about the legal implications of dropping gum and demonstrate the detrimental effect of gum litter in our town.’

Data collected during the campaign will be submitted to the campaign organisers, Keep Britain Tidy, and survey outcomes reported later this year.