The Council is one of 56 councils across the UK that has successfully applied for funds to help clean gum from pavements and embark on a preventative campaign to encourage people to dispose of their gum responsibly.
The Chewing Gum Task Force was established by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and is administered by environmental charity, Keep Britain Tidy. This is the second round of funding provided by some of the world’s leading chewing gum manufacturers, including Mars Wrigley and Perfetti Van Melle to address the problem.
The funding awarded has enabled Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council to purchase specialist equipment to undertake deep-cleaning to remove gum from the streets of Antrim, Glengormley, Randalstown, Ballyclare and Crumlin. In addition, anti-gum-littering signage will be installed to encourage people to ‘bin their gum’ in the future. Previous pilot programmes, led by Mars Wrigley and not-for-profit, Behaviour Change, have indicated that the installation of signage may reduce littering by up to 64%.
Furthermore, monitoring and evaluation undertaken by Behaviour Change has shown that in areas that benefited last year, a reduced rate of gum littering was still being observed six months after clean-up and the installation of prevention materials.
The new equipment uses a combination of natural, pH neutral detergent and high temperature steam to gently and effectively lift the gum off surfaces without causing any damage. The solution used is environmentally friendly, ensuring no harmful chemicals are introduced into our surroundings.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Mark Cooper commented,
"This initiative is more than just about keeping our streets clean. It's about instilling pride in our community, making our towns more welcoming, and ensuring that public spaces are enjoyed by everyone without the nuisance of gum pollution.
Clean streets may also encourage the opening of new shops and businesses, who see a cared-for town and want to invest in it.
This scheme showcases the Council's commitment to innovative solutions for age-old problems. The equipment is already in operation across the Borough with our designated teams scheduled to start in high-footprint areas such as shopping districts, schools, and public transport stops.”