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Dumfries and Galloway Council

Question: There is a lot of chewed gum littered in my local park, and in other public places too, such as telephone boxes, and public toilets. Do you think chewing gum littering is a problem?

Asked by jojioli to Alastair, Elaine, Jane, Sandra, Ted on 28 Sep 2010 in Categories: .

0 Comment on this question

  • Photo: Elaine MurrayElaine Murray answered on 27 Sep 2010:

    Yes, its a real nuisance. I raised this with the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment in May last year though a couple of written questions which I’ve copied into this email

    S3W-24403 – Elaine Murray (Dumfries) (Lab) (Date Lodged Thursday, May 28, 2009): To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has given any consideration to the possibility of introducing a levy on chewing gum and, if so, what conclusions it has reached.

    Answered by Richard Lochhead (Thursday, June 11, 2009): Carelessly discarded chewing gum, like all forms of litter, is ugly and harms the environment, however it does not happen by itself. We need to acknowledge that it is members of the public who cause litter. We believe it is important that people take personal responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others.

    It is important that people care for their environment and dispose of their litter correctly. To get this message across to the general public, the Scottish Government provides the core funding to the independent environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB), who run a number of anti-litter campaigns designed to raise public awareness of the problem. In particular, they co-ordinate local level clean-ups all over Scotland involving community groups, tenant associations and schools. Further information about the work of KSB is available at http://www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/.

    We have no plans to introduce a levy on chewing gum.

    S3W-24402 – Elaine Murray (Dumfries) (Lab) (Date Lodged Thursday, May 28, 2009): To ask the Scottish Executive what sanctions are available to local authorities against the dropping of used chewing gum in public places.

    Answered by Richard Lochhead (Friday, June 05, 2009): The act of throwing down, dropping or depositing and leaving chewing gum, like all types of litter, is an offence under Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and subject to a fine of up to £2,500. Alternatively, the person may be offered the opportunity to pay a fixed penalty fine, the level of which is currently £50.

    Designated local authority officers have the power to issue fixed penalty notices to those who litter. As independent bodies, whether local authorities empower officials to issue notices is a matter for each local authority. They are encouraged to do so by the Scottish Government.


  • Photo: Sandra McDowallSandra McDowall answered on 27 Sep 2010:

    Hi, jojioli. Yes, I do think chewing gum littering is a problem. There is a machine that can remove it from pavements but it is very time consuming and it soon builds up again. A lot of different things have been tried such as special bins and boards to try to stop it happening but dropping it still seems the preferred option. As you say, all public spaces suffer to the same extent and I don’t know how to solve the problem. It would be good if something could be added that would make the discarded gum harden so that it could easily be swept up.


  • Photo: Alastair WittsAlastair Witts answered on 27 Sep 2010:

    It is in certain places. The council has a machine to lift it, but it can’t be everywhere. There are community wardens going around and they can speak to people who litter (and that includes chewing gum) and issue them with a fine, but again, they can’t be everywhere at the same time. In the long term people should be educated to stop this disgusting habit, and other members of the public should have the courage to challenge people who do this. It doesn’t happen in other countries, so why here?


  • Photo: Jane MaitlandJane Maitland answered on 28 Sep 2010:

    Yes. I don’t know why people don’t swallow it – it could then be dealt with in the sewage system all in a oner.