Cleaning blitz to rid city streets of gum

UNSIGHTLY chewing gum which is littering Sheffield’s streets is to be blitzed over the next few months as part of a city council campaign.

The national chewing gum removal specialists, GumFighters, has been hired by Sheffield Council city centre management team to clean-up the main retail areas.

The team will use hi-tech equipment to remove stubborn chewing gum from the pavements by a system of high-temperature, low-pressure steam mixed with an environmentally friendly cleaning agent.

Council leader Peter Moore said: “Unimaginable quantities of chewing gum are consumed every year in Sheffield and a large part of this gum is carelessly thrown away on the street and pavements in the city.

“Traditional remedies of freezing and scraping or pressure washing can damage surfaces and grouting which in turn can cause flooding. But this new technique used by GumFighters is an environmentally friendly way

to remove gum which can look unsightly on our streets.”

The team will be cleaning from the Moor through to High Street over the next couple of months to help raise awareness of the problem.

GumFighters director Mark Williams-Thomas said: “We are pleased to be working to create a cleaner and healthier environment for everybody

in Sheffield. However, it is very important that people realise the damage caused by discarded gum and dispose of it correctly.”

He added the best way to dispose of chewing gum was to return the used piece back to its wrapper, secure it within scrap paper or, if you insist, swallow it.

“Don’t worry, it won’t collect in your intestines. It will just pass through your system in one piece, because gum base can’t be digested.,” added Mr Williams-Thomas.

It is estimated that each square metre of city centre paving has five pieces of gum deposited on it.

During the clean up an estimated 27,000 square metres of paving will be cleaned.

Every day almost 13 million pieces of gum are chewed in Britain. However, gum does not degrade quickly – it can stay on the street for around 20 years.