Gum busting machine to help out in sticky situations

Two new gum-busting machines are being brought in by East Cambridgeshire District Council to help out in sticky situations.

The Ghostbusters-style backpack is being used by a dedicated street cleansing team to rid the district of the perils of chewing gum.

Many streets in the district, especially in the high streets of Ely, Soham and Littleport, are being marred by discarded gum, which makes streets look grubby and uncared for, and is even worse when it sticks to clothes and shoes.

East Cambridgeshire District Council was one of 50 authorities in the UK to successfully apply for the £25,000 grant from Keep Britain Tidy. The grant has allowed the council to purchase two machines as well as employ two additional temporary operatives. They will work for 12 weeks over the summer and early autumn, initially targeting the busier areas of the towns and the city. The money is provided by chewing gum companies to assist councils in tackling the subsequent problem of gum littered on streets. It is also funding behavioural interventions and new eco-friendly pavement signage - which can be cleaned off with the gum-blasting machines - to encourage people to bin their gum.

The street cleansing team, which is run by East Cambs Street Scene (ECSS) on behalf of the council, will remove as much chewing gum as possible in addition to the normal street cleansing activities. At the end of the project, the machines will be incorporate into its daily cleansing routines.

The crackdown on chewing gum is the first initiative to be brought in by ECSS and East Cambridgeshire District Council as part of a new Love Your Street campaign.

The campaign is seeking to reduce the amount of littering and environmental crime, such as graffiti and flytipping, in East Cambridgeshire and encourage people to be proud of the areas in which they live. It will include educational initiatives for schools and social media campaigns designed to encourage residents to love their street and create a cleaner, greener East Cambridgeshire.