Thursday, October 12, 2006

Chewing gum on pavements

While many make an effort to keep our environment tidy, the issue of chewing gum continues to be a scourge on out street scene. When I visited Harris Academy yesterday, chewing gum covered the playground and of course, this is replicated across the country including in nearly every school and footpath.

With so many people just throwing their gum on the pavement, it accumulates at a rapid rate. On the occasion I chew gum (usually on long flights) I have always disposed of it in a bin, even if people cannot find a bin they should put in papers and dispose of it later. The cost of removing gum is very high, removing graffiti is a fraction of the cost and Council's including Merton can only afford to remove gum from pavements about once a year and in some area not at all because of the costs involved. Even if it is removed, it will be covered again in gum within a matter of days.

In terms of control, it is clear we should not go down the Singapore line where gum is banned completely (no doubt I'll see for myself when I visit Singapore next week) but I do believe the time has come to impose a tax on chewing gum, initially at say 5p a packet. In Ireland, this has been successfully introduced. This could go towards the cost of gum removal and improve our street scene in the process. Fines for people caught dropping gum and for that matter litter should also be increased as dramatically as well. The time has come for action and it cannot come too soon in my view.


Anonymous andrew said...

Bzzzt! Taxing packets of gum to pay for clean-up doesn't work... it creates an irresistible moral hazard because those who have paid the tax have also paid to drop.

The only policy which will work is detailed in my blog here.

10:21 am  

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