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First shots fired in gum fight

Wrigley has come under fire from a coalition of the home nations' five capital cities at the first meeting of a body set up to fight chewing gum litter.

(Left to right) Councillor Robert Cairns (Edinburgh), Councillor Jim Clarke (Belfast), Councillor Jim James (Cardiff), Councillor Alan Bradley (Westminster)and Councillor Paschal Donohue (Dublin)

The Gum Council pledged to put pressure on the huge manufacturer to pay towards the £150 million annual clean-up cost of spat-out gum.

It claimed that the Plymouth-based UK arm of the US giant produced 90% of the gum that ended up on their streets.

So Westminster, Cardiff, Dublin, Belfast and Edinburgh councils agreed to campaign to make Wrigley create a clean-up fund. The idea of a tax on chewing gum sales was mooted as a possibility if the money was not forthcoming.

Westminster City Councillor Alan Bradley said: "It is time to make the polluter pay.

"The towns and cities of Britain are losing the battle against gum.

"We have persistently asked for help from both Wrigley and the law-makers on this issue but have consistently been disappointed by the response.

"Gum manufacturers have been promising for years that they are working on an
environmentally-friendly gum, but nothing has happened.

"That is why we, the capital cities of the UK and Ireland, have now joined forces. Today, we are declaring war on this blight to our cities and we believe that by working together, we are considerably more difficult to ignore."

The Gum Council made three pledges:

  • To put pressure on Wrigley to create a fund to educate people who discard gum and to help with cleaning costs
  • To shame those who drop gum into realising it is antisocial and unhygienic
  • To pressure the Government into funding research into biodegradable gum.

Edinburgh City Councillor Robert Cairns added: "We support a levy on gum to raise funds for local authorities to successfully clean the streets."

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