A litter campaign group is aiming to show residents how bad the issue is in Leamington by using new technology to remove all the chewing gum on the Parade.
The Courier is an official partner of the ‘Now or Never’ campaign, recently launched in Leamington by Clean Up Britain to try and change the behaviour of those who litter.
And now, the campaign will focus cleaning up the Parade.
John Read, the founder of Clean Up Britain, said: “The Parade is filthy - it’s covered in chewing gum stains. The pavement is a very poor advert for the town and it does nothing to inspire pride in Leamington.
“In a nutshell, it needs cleaning, and it needs to be kept clean.
“Litter breeds litter, and chewing gum is one of the worst visible manifestations of Britain’s throwaway society.”
According to Clean Up Britain, chewing gum not only looks bad on the streets, but can be dangerous to animals. Gum contains a chemical called xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
But current methods of cleaning it up can cost councils anything from 20p a piece all the way up to £1.50 a piece.
Additionally, jet washers currently used to tackle chewing gum can use 1,200 litres of water per hour.
However, the Parade will be cleaned up with a new state-of-the-art machine called ‘STEAM-E’ which uses steam instead of high-pressured water.
As a result, the costs of cleaning up the gum are vastly reduced to just 1p a piece.
John hopes to showcase this new system in Leamington by cleaning up the Parade.
He added: “It (STEAM-E) has significant environmental benefits. We want to see Warwick District Council and councils around the country to use this technology.
“We want people to see a visible difference on the Parade.”
While John said cleaning the Parade was important in the short-term, the Now or Never campaign ultimately aims to change people’s bad habits.
“Our core message is we’re interested in behavioural change. Some people - a sizeable minority - have got to stop behaving irresponsibly and start taking pride in where they live,” John added.
“I don’t want to see Warwick District Council spend a penny on cleaning up chewing gum, because they’re strapped for cash. People need to understand that.”
Clean Up Britain and Warwick District Council have not yet confirmed a date for the clean-up, but John hopes it will be in around five or six weeks’ time.