Taking gum off the streets

Kilkenny Borough Council held a street promotion in Kieran Street on July 11th as part of the Gum Litter Tasforce Campaign to raise awareness of gum littering.

Kilkenny Borough Council held a street promotion in Kieran Street on July 11th as part of the Gum Litter Tasforce Campaign to raise awareness of gum littering.

The Borough’s cleaning crew displayed their equipment, while students employed for the summer handed out promotional gum wraps to encourage people to dispose of gum properly. Mayor Martin Brett was also on hand to

support the campaign.

Bernadette Moloney, the Environmental Awareness Officer, said that the Borough had two main aims in staging the event. “We wanted to raise the issue of gum litter,” she said, “and secondly, a lot of the street cleaning happens at 5 o’clock in the morning and nobody sees them so we wanted to raise awareness of what types of machines we use and the efforts that the borough are making.”

This is the second year of the Gum Litter Campaign, run in conjunction with other local authorities. Interactive workshops aimed at changing attitudes are also taking place in secondary schools. Though there has been a reduction in gum littering in recent years, Bernadette says that the problem still exists and that people should be encouraged to change their behaviour.

“With all our awareness campaigns and enforcement activities, there’s still a percentage not doing the right thing and just dropping it, so it would be good if it became socially unacceptable.” Executive Engineer Emer Slattery explained how the different vehicles are used for different surfaces and streets, while emphasising the cost of their various activities. “Just look at how much we spent last year on cleaning. E650,000 is a lot of money. It’s costing us in excess of E130 a tonne to get rid of the waste,” she said.

Mayor Brett praised the initiative, and stressed that the resources which are devoted to street cleaning could be put to better use elsewhere. “Anything that can be done to reduce the cost to ourselves it means we can invest in a lot of other things as well,” he said.