News » Archived News 2006

Launch of pilot campaign by Cork City Council and the Gum Litter Task Force on Monday, 17th July 2006

gum1On Monday, 17th July, St. Patrick's Street, Cork City Council and the Gum Litter Task Force, launched the pilot campaign to tackle the issue of gum litter in Cork city.

The pilot campaign was formally launched by Minister of State at Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Batt O’Keeffe TD “Anyone who visits Cork city centre will see the efforts made by Cork City Council Cleansing Staff to keep the streets free of chewing gum, but, in spite of their best efforts, gum litter is still a scourge. We need to change the attitudes and behaviour of people who simply drop their gum litter on the streets. Education and awareness raising and the enforcement of the litter laws are very important in this regard and this is where I feel this programme is key."

Also at the launch, Lord Mayor Cllr. Michael Ahern said “We are delighted to be associated with the Gum Litter Task Force in tackling the serious and unsightly problem of chewing gum litter. We are very proud of our city and Cork City Council concentrates a lot of resources in keeping the city clean and free of litter. I wish the Task Force success in its campaign and can assure them the continued active co-operation of Cork City Council.”

The Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT) was established earlier this year following the agreement on a joint initiative between the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII), a division of IBEC.

The joint initiative is the result of negotiations between the Department and FDII on behalf of the chewing gum industry.  This follows the publication of the Government Study on Chewing Gum, Fast-Food packaging and ATM receipt litter.  It is the first of a series of agreements to be concluded with the Banking, Fast Food and Chewing Gum industries following the recommendations by a consultants' report to the Department of Environment.

Members of the GLT include representatives of the chewing gum industry, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Food and Drink Industry Ireland, Department of Education and Science, ENFO, ECO UNESCO, Foroige, Local Authority representatives and Retail Ireland.

gum2The GLT programme is focused on achieving a long-term change in behaviour with regards the disposal of gum rather than on short-term clean-up solutions that do not address the underlying problem of the irresponsible disposal of gum.

The pilot campaign launched on July 17th will run for a period of three months in Cork and Dublin city centres along with Bray town centre.

Gum litter is an important issue for local authorities and is costly to remove. It has been found that the most effective and sustainable solutions to tackle the problem are increased awareness of the issue and to educate the minority of people who drop gum to do the right thing and dispose of it responsibly.

This is the first time any form of littering has been tackled in such a planned and systematic way in Ireland. The objective is to achieve a long term and sustainable solution to the gum litter issue in particular and hopefully one which can be replicated in other areas.

The Pilot Campaigns will comprise a number of separate elements. These include paid for outdoor advertising; in-store and around store advertising and point of sale materials and greater awareness of enforcement through higher visibility of litter wardens and their work; and behaviour and attitudes surveys to be carried out at the beginning and end of the campaign to measure effectiveness.

The advertising campaign will concentrate on delivering positive messages and will thank people for their responsible disposal of chewing gum. Research has shown that this form of campaign generated the most positive response and caused a significant shift in people’s behaviour.

The Pilot Campaign will last for a period of three months and will conclude with a follow-up survey to assess its effectiveness. The results of this survey will be used by the GLT in the development of the National Campaign.


L to R: Una Murphy & Liz McAvoy, Cork City Challenge, Lord Mayor Cllr. Michael Ahern, Alma Murnane, Gum Litter Task Force, Peter (stiltwalker), Aine Griffin, DOEH&LG, Peter O'Donoghue, President, Cork Business Association, Batt O'Keeffe TD, Minister of State at Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government, Environment staff - Tom Mackey, Aodán O Laoire, Aileen O'Connor, Gerry O'Beirne, Director of Services, Maura Minogue and City Manager, Joe Gavin.

Back to list