Chewing Gum Action Group

Another skirmish in the war against those gross, black splotches.

The Chewing Gum Action Group (CGAG) has had enough. The organization says discarded gum removed last year from London’s well-trafficked Oxford, Regent, and Bond Streets amounted to 86,000 square meters of guck.

Stepping on fresh gum is bad enough, but watching ancient, blackened gum ground into the sidewalks of a lively part of town is downright depressing. According to one estimate, local councils spend an astounding £56 million (nearly $87 million) cleaning up the “horrible mess” each year.

So the CCAG network—with the help of local government officials, a handful of Business Improvement Districts, the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, and even chewing gum industry representatives themselves—launched a new campaign to raise awareness about discarded gum. Their idea is simple, cheap, and shockingly effective.

During the month of October, CGAG volunteers have roamed the gray pavement of Oxford Street, circling each and every gum splotch with bright yellow chalk. The effect, the group says, is “eye-catching” and “measle-like”—but also a little pretty.

(Chewing Gum Action Group)

CGAG’s nine prior gum-fighting campaigns have created real results. Last year, participating areas saw a 38 percent reduction in gum litter throughout the course of a poster-based campaign. One saw a 90 percent reduction.

“[C]huck it in the bin,” advises Steven Medway of one West End BID. (He is British.)

(Chewing Gum Action Group)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    The Cities Americans Want to Flee, and Where They Want to Go

    An Apartment List report reveals the cities apartment-hunters are targeting for their next move—and shows that tales of a California exodus may be overstated.

  2. photo: Dominque Walker, founder of Moms 4 Housing, n the kitchen of the vacant house in West Oakland that the group occupied to draw attention to fair housing issues.
    Equity

    A Group of Mothers, a Vacant Home, and a Win for Fair Housing

    The activist group Moms 4 Housing occupied a vacant home in Oakland to draw attention to the city’s affordability crisis. They ended up launching a movement.

  3. photo: A Lyft scooter on the streets of Oakland in July.
    Transportation

    4 Predictions for the Electric Scooter Industry

    Dockless e-scooters swept cities worldwide in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, expect the battery-powered micromobility revolution to take a new direction.

  4. photo: a pair of homes in Pittsburgh
    Equity

    The House Flippers of Pittsburgh Try a New Tactic

    As the city’s real estate market heats up, neighborhood groups say that cash investors use building code violations to encourage homeowners to sell.  

  5. photo: Toxic lead paint peels from a window frame on a rowhouse in Baltimore, Maryland.
    Environment

    The Unequal Burden of Urban Lead

    Decades after federal regulations banned the use of the deadly metal in paint, gasoline, and plumbing, the effects of lead continue to be felt across America’s cities.

×