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Should chewing gum manufacturers be forced to pay for cleaning up streets?

Chewing gum on the ground in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

Chewing gum on the ground in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY


Chewing gum companies could be forced to pay for cleaning up the streets if a campaign gets government approval.

A council worker removing gum from the pavement. Picture: JOHNNY GREEN/PAA council worker removing gum from the pavement. Picture: JOHNNY GREEN/PA

A cross-party motion, supported by the Local Government Association (LGA) and Clean Up Britain, has called for the industry to help fund removal of discarded chewing gum.

The campaign is accompanied by a petition insisting manufacturers pay for gum clean-up costs.

It says local councils waste more than £1million a week scraping chewing gum off our streets.

“The government must hold billionaire gum producers accountable for the huge costs their products inflict, and legally force them to pay for the clean up costs”, it demands.

An estimated 2m pieces of gum are dropped on pavements every week in the UK.

Campaigners say a gum tax needs to be imposed on the sector to help offset the “unsustainable and obscene” costs that local councils currently have to bear diverting scarce funding away from social care, housing and other essential local services.

Martin Tett, the LGA’s environment spokesman, said it was reasonable to expect confectioners to help by switching to biodegradable gum and contributing to the cost of clearing it up.

Chewing gum is the second most common form of dropped litter in the UK after cigarette butts.

Last year, Keep Britain Tidy found 99% of main shopping streets were stained by gum.

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