Monday 22 July 2019

Mallow launch for campaign to tackle sticky problem of chewing gum litter

Bill Browne

Education is the key to changing people's behaviour when it comes to how they dispose of their chewing gum.

That was the simple but unequivocal message to emerge from a high-profile gathering in Mallow, under the auspices of a country-wide campaign aimed at encouraging people to 'bin their gum when it's done'.

Cllr Pat Hayes, deputising for the County Mayor, officially launched the 2018 Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT) education campaign in the company of representatives from Mallow Tidy Towns and staff from Cork County Council's environment directorate all of whom urged the public to 'get on message.'

Cllr Hayes, who is also the chair of Mallow Chamber, said it costs Cork County Council enormous amounts of money each year to clean up chewing gum stuck to pavements.

"It is also hugely disappointing for groups like Mallow Chamber and Tidy Towns, who do an immense amount of great work to keep our towns and villages free of litter, to see our pavements covered in discarded chewing gum," said Cllr Hayes.

"This is a great campaign for communities up and down the country to get involved in, uniting people in a common goal to responsibly dispose of their chewing gum," he added. 

Cllr Hayes said it was particularly important that the 'bin your gum' message got home to young people. 

"It is important that people get into the habit of disposing gum properly from a young age so they can take that through their lives and pass the message onto others," he said. 

"The GLT campaign has made some very positive inroads to date on this issue and I hope it will continue down this road in 2019," said Cllr Hayes. 

According to GLT chairman Paul Kelly the education campaign message is reaching the public. He pointed to research undertaken on behalf of the taskforce during last year's campaign that showed the highest number of people to date (93%) agree that dropping gum is littering, compared to 74% when the campaign was established in 2007.  In turn 88% of those surveyed said they disposed of the their chewing gum properly, up from just 54% in 2007. 

"Since its inception, the GLT campaign has sought to educate the public on the correct way to dispose of their used gum, with the latest research results showing this ambition has been made a reality," said Mr Kelly. 

"Going forward, we will look to build on these positive results and continue in our efforts to fully rid out streets of littered gum. We want to keeping encouraging the small minority of people who do not dispose of their gum properly to think about it and bin it." 

For more information about the 2019 GLT 'Bin Your Gum When It's Done' campaign and the various events taking place in schools and towns across County Cork  visit