Will this spell the end for gum on our pavements? | Emma Kay

Chewing gum has always been and will always be a pet peeve of mine.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 11:27 am
Updated Friday, 17th September 2021, 5:58 pm
Chewing gum stuck to pavements, one of Emma's pet peeves.

My absolute dislike of the stuff is probably due to working in schools and having to persistently deal with the idiotic but sometimes creative ways pupils choose to dispose of gum to hide it from teachers.

These can range from using it as a bookmark: a lovely find for the next reader, to, incredulously, sticking it into their hair.

There are many heights children will go to, to give their mouths a constant work out in lessons. There are some brave souls who will go to great heights to acquire their chewable fix. I have seen children pick out decades old, used gum from under tables and pop it into their mouths.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

I have never really seen a need for such a rubbery concoction. Eighty-seven per cent of our streets are stained with its elastic-plastic, sticky, characteristics. Councils and charities like Keep Britain Tidy spend over £7 million a year to remove the sour, cohesive substance from our streets. Our pedestrian highways are gummed up and it is all rather gross.

I hate the squelching moistness. I hate having to watch it being regurgitated and masticated like a dying slippery sock rotating in a washing machine. The repulsive spit and the slime and the wet. Grimacing while watching people mould the sloppy mess into different shapes with their tongue. Positively nauseating.

But what is worse is what users elect to do with their sweetened and flavoured insoluble plastic it after they have pulverised the sweetness and flavouring from their glutinous lump.

Sticking it here there and everywhere like a post it note. Our walking surfaces have become a canvas for chewy leftovers that you and me do not want to step in. Pavements have become, in places, an impenetrable carpet of everlasting hardness that we can do nothing about.

Until now.

The big chewing gum companies like Wrigley’s, Nicotinell, and Big Babol bubble gum have pledged to invest £10m over the next five years in a bid to remove the scourge of gum litter from the UK’s streets. Ancient gum adorning the pavements may be a thing of the past as their investment may make a huge dent in our dental deposits. Campaigns will also be carefully curated to dissuade would be gum litter throwers from further staining.

Dropping litter has already been designated as a criminal offence by local authorities. Offenders can expect to pay from £150 with a rise of £2,500 if persistent litterbugs appear in court. And to be honest, this is a good thing as gross gum flingers need to be taken down a peg or chew.

Empty shelves ahead

I have previously commented on the shortage of lorry drivers after Brexit but have really started to notice an increase in stories regarding driver shortages affecting different companies.

Some doubted my concerns that a lack of HGV drivers would have crippling and rippling effects on an already fragile economy. In all honesty, I wish their doubts were correct as the murk and mess is getting frothier.

Wine prices are going to increase during the festive season so it may be a dryer holiday this year.

The head of Accolade Wines (which includes Stowells, Hardys and Echo Falls) has warned of future shortages in supply, distribution and delivery.

Other companies have felt the pandemic pinch: Coca Cola with supply issues of canned drinks, even Wetherpoons has suffered beer shortages.

The yuletide season may be nearing but as the shelves empty out, plenty of people will be feeling sober and sad.

Time to stew on it

Summer is over which means our spacious silver stew pot is going to be a permanent friend on our stove.

Most might opt for seasoned beef but in truth, simple sausages make a glorious stew substitute.

Stew is one of my favourite dishes to make because each time you can add something else and make it a little different, a little better.

Creating your own stew is an aromatic adventure in culinary discovery. Finely chopped onions. Carrot slithers sprinkled delicately into the steaming cauldron. Pasta replacing potatoes for an Italian touch. A clove of garlic.

A splash of salt. A dash of brown sugar.

In truth, it is hard to make a bad stew. And even if you do it becomes a balancing act of simply adding that special ingredient you need to tip the scales.

This winter will no doubt be death by stewcide. I am looking forward to it.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, for 27p a day.