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Public finds out what a sticky situation feels like with Leeds campaign

A national campaign to discourage people from dropping chewing gum in the street has been welcomed by Leeds City Council. Chewing gum litter is difficult and expensive to remove, so the council decided to raise awareness in a novel interactive way. Visitors to the city centre on July 30 were invited to transform themselves into a life-sized ball of gum and launch themselves at a giant inflatable Velcro wall. The idea behind the activity was to help people understand how difficult it is to scrape up chewing gum once it has been stuck to the pavement. Adverts at bus stops, railway stations and phone boxes will also remind people it is an offence to drop gum, which carries a £75 fixed penalty notice. The advertising campaign, which has been funded by the Chewing Gum Action Group, follows a successful campaign last year which saw an average reduction in chewing gum litter of 38%. Gummy bins, provided free by manufacturing company Straight, have also been installed in the city on a trial basis for people to dispose of their gum. Council staff are undertaking monitoring work before, during and after the advertising campaign and throughout the Gummy Bin trial to determine their success. Council executive board member for environmental services Steve Smith said: Chewing gum is a blight on our streets. In the worst affected areas there are around 300 pieces per square metre and it is very difficult and expensive to remove. We are pleased to be at the forefront of this campaign and hope that increased awareness raising and education about the problem, as well as a hard-line approach to enforcement will help to reduce gum litter. Straight chief executive Jonathan Straight said: We look forward to seeing the results from the Gummy Bin installation as this has already been proven to significantly reduce the amount of chewing gum disposed of on the streets in other areas." Image: Cllr Steve Smith and council officer Steve Linnecor with a gum buster machine.

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