Chewing Gum: Staining the Streets

While the streets of London are definitely not really paved with gold, the pavements of most of Britain’s towns plus cities, including Borisland, appear to be struggling with a virulent attack of measles.

Next time you’re in a queue, or perhaps ambling along window shopping, cast your eyes downwards and play the game of counting the number of bits of trodden in chewing gum that you can see. Indeed all those black or white stains are just trodden in gum, spat out by Joe Public. There are millions of them out there.

This scourge is increasing exponentially, as anti-smoking initiatives drive people to change their own habits; older habits die really difficult, and just like ciggie butts used to be removed without a thought, so it is with chewing gum despite the exhortations on the packaging.

It has been estimated that the ongoing clean-up battle against chewing gum costs local authorities (and you and me, the taxpayer) between one hundred fifty – 200 million pounds a year. Even then the effectiveness of the elimination is only visible for a matter associated with days.

Also this cost doesn’t take into account the disruption caused by the use of vapor cleaners, pressure washers and the clever range of chemicals used to dissolve the particular offending staining. There is also the at first unseen damage caused to obstruct paving and the de rigueur costly pavoirs by the ‘blowing out’ from the sand between the blocks. This leads to the loss of the integral strength from the walkway, leading to slumping and movement of the actual blocks themselves; more exacerbated by the weight and torque of mechanical street cleaning sweepers, leading to ruts and potentially expensive ‘slips and trips’ claims.

The solution may be at hand, with the development of a new form of chewing gum polymer. It is stated that it does not affect the chewability or ‘mouth texture’ of the gum plus doesn’t require any changes in the manufacturing process. This last point is crucial to there being any kind of take-up by the major international manufacturers who are governed by the bottom line and the need for affordability, with such a spur-of-the-moment buy.

These new polymers, if used, will lead to gums which are possibly easier to remove. This will be through either using water and abrasive action, or which will degrade within 6 months to a fine powder. This will decrease the costs of pavement and patio cleaning services. These benefits not necessarily just restricted to hard surfaces, but are also effective on clothes, shoes and boots and hair which will delight any mother who has children.

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