Gum litter falls by 64% in Wexford town

By Dan Walsh

Cllr Barbara Anne Murphy Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council and Cllr Garry Laffan, Mayor of Wexford joined members of Wexford Tidy Towns to officially launch the gum litter education campaign on Wexford Quay today (Friday).

Cllr Murphy asked people to get behind the Gum Litter Taskforce campaign which is an environmental initiative set up to develop and implement an awareness campaign to reduce gum litter in the most sustainable way. “Supported and funded by the chewing gum industry, the GLT initiative has made very real and significant improvements in relation to gum litter awareness and disposal behaviour over the last 14 years since its inception in 2007. The 2019 campaign maintained an all-time high of 93% of people stating that they regard chewing gum as litter, up from 74% when the campaign first began in 2007, pointing to the attitudinal impact which the campaign has had.”

Mayor of Wexford Cllr Laffan hoped the campaign will continue to further build on those results. “Each year we see communities coming together with the common aim of reducing the level of littered gum in our county.”

Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy, Cathaoirleach Wexford County Council and Mayor of Wexford Cllr Gary Laffan and members of Wexford Tidy Towns’ at the Gum Litter Taskforce campaign launch on Wexford Quay

The campaign is looking to build on the positive momentum of previous years’ campaigns and is making a strong return for 2021 after being postponed last year due to COVID-19.

Research commissioned by the Gum Litter Taskforce and conducted by Kantar Millward Brown during the 2019 campaign highlighted the campaign’s continued positive effect on people’s behaviour towards gum disposal. In 2019, the results showed that 88% of people said that they always dispose of their gum correctly, which was up from 54% when the campaign first began. This shift in public behaviour has been evident throughout the 13 years that the campaign has been running, as the proportion of gum as a percentage of litter has decreased by 64%.

Paul Kelly, Chairman of the GLT added; “It is great to see the GLT campaign return and continue its success in changing the public’s behaviour towards gum litter.

Nicola Forde, Corporate Affairs Manager, Mars Wrigley Ireland said; “Mars Wrigley are pleased to support the return of this positive and vibrant awareness campaign in 2021. It is important that we maintain momentum on our journey to achieving a cleaner, greener Ireland through initiatives like the GLT and build on the success that the campaign has achieved since it commenced in 2007.  “COVID-19 has brought more people outdoors to gather, socialise and enjoy the beauty of their local area. As a result, both younger and older generations are becoming more aware of the importance of maintaining the surrounding natural environment.” 

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