Chewing it over

I took the photo below the other day as I was walking down a city street. I won’t say where. Just say it’s on your street, because wherever you live, if you look down and study the pavement, this is what you are likely to see. And what you are seeing is discarded chewing gum that people have spat out.

the chewing gum street

I have increased contrast levels on the photo to make the gum more visible, but there it is. Of course as we know this wouldn’t be the scene in Singapore, because former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew banned the importation and use of chewing gum in the city state. While not particularly wanting to espouse Lee’s somewhat authoritarian form of government, you might wonder whether he had a point.

Nor is this just a minor aesthetic complaint. The cost annually of removing chewing gum from pavements can be astronomical. It is estimated that London spends £10 million a year on this operation.

Let’s chew this one over and do something.

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6 Comments on “Chewing it over”

  1. Al Says:

    We did until we got a visit from the American Ambassador!

  2. V.H Says:

    You know that the story about the gum is mostly pure hoo-haw. Yes, it’s unsightly and the very sight of it causes a group think about ‘where one puts stuff’ when out for a stroll. Where, if you see the place strewn with rubbish that you are vastly more likely to simply open your hand rather than go to a bin or take it home.
    But the cost argument is based on a flaw. If I with a stop watch time the removal of a bit of gum from a paver in July then count the number of bits over say 10^m then extrapolate to each and every mile of pavement in a town I’ll end up with a vast number. However once we get a bit of cold the nature of the gum changes and can be removed with a street hoover. So, the length of time we have a genuine issue can be measures by the number of sunny days. Yes were we living in Spain we might have the problem you are on about costwise, since we aren’t we haven’t. :-)
    And in the scheme of things, £10mil in London isn’t exactly saying the place is awash in the crap.

  3. MunchkinMan Says:

    I’d wager that the photo was taken outside one of your student exam halls, Ferdinand:) No, it’s another one of your recent New York shots?..’Only in America would you get this…’

    Seriously ‘though, you have a point. It’s an observation, and its an annoying consequence of a relatively free society. Look, if it’s not chewing gum, it would be dog s**t on the pavement. Back in the old days when horses were ubiquitous on the highways it would have been horse s**t. Not everyone adheres to social norms in terms of litter, or in terms of anything, for that matter – that’s life! Anyway, the chewing of (sugar-free) gum is very good for maintaining oral hygiene and reduces both tooth decay and gum disease. For that reason I guess that your photo wasn’t taken outside the local dentist surgery…:)


  4. Wow is that photo for real? It looks like bird droppings! We live in SIngapore, and must admit we do love never having to deal with stepping in gum!
    carmenandnatasha.wordpress.com

  5. Jill Clarke Says:

    dash of red and you have a nice abstract photo


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