The Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Councillor James Collins today (24 July) officially launched the Gum Litter Taskforce’s gum litter education campaign in Bedford Row in Limerick City. Helen O’Donnell, the Chair of Limerick Tidy Towns was also in attendance.
The Gum Litter Taskforce has been successful to date in changing the public’s behaviour by encouraging correct gum disposal through a targeted education awareness campaign and demonstrates the power of government and industry alliance in driving positive change. The latest report of the National Litter Monitoring Pollution System has shown that the percentage of chewing gum as a proportion of litter dropped to 8% in 2017 from 15% in 2016.
Last year’s campaign maintained an all-time high of 93% of people stating that they regard chewing gum as litter, pointing to the attitudinal impact which the campaign has affected since it first began.
Research commissioned by the Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT) and conducted by Kantar Millward Brown during the 2017 campaign has demonstrated the campaign’s positive effect on people’s behaviour towards gum disposal. The latest results show 86% of people saying they dispose of their gum correctly, compared with just 54% in 2006 when the campaign began.
Speaking at the launch, the Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Councillor James Collins said: “The Gum Litter Taskforce is a fantastic initiative for communities to get involved in. Each year, we see communities coming together with the common aim of reducing the level of littered gum within their respective localities. The campaign has achieved positive results to date in this regard, and I hope this year’s campaign will continue to further build on those results”.
Paul Kelly, Chairman of the GLT added: “Each year, the GLT campaign endeavours to educate people on the proper manner in which to dispose of their used gum. Beginning in 2007, the campaign has seen sustained and marked progress in changing people’s attitudes to littered gum which has in turn positively impacted upon behavioural patterns when it comes to gum disposal. As ever, we are committed to continuing efforts to eradicate gum from our streets entirely. Today’s national launch marks an important part of a wider nationwide campaign which also includes a national advertising campaign and a school’s education programme, Bin It!”.
Katherine Hogan, Corporate Affairs Director, Mars Ireland said: “Mars Ireland and Wrigley are delighted once more to be part of such a successful campaign. Although the GLT is funded by industry, it could not have achieved the level of success to date without the active and enthusiastic participation of local authorities up and down the country to whom we are very grateful. This year’s campaign contains a number of new platforms and means through which we will be able to extend our awareness raising and educational outreach amongst the public and we are excited to see how this will play out. We look forward to playing our part in tackling the issue of littered gum and working alongside local communities in achieving this goal”.
The 2018 campaign is the first in a three-year cycle which commenced on foot of a negotiated agreement between the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and Food Drink Ireland (FDI) representing the gum industry.
Each of the local authorities will launch their own campaigns in the coming weeks. The 26 participating authorities are: Dublin City Council, Limerick City and County Council, Cork City Council, Fingal County Council, South Dublin County Council, Galway County Council, Leitrim County Council, Donegal County Council, Roscommon County Council, Clare County Council, Westmeath County Council, Cork County Council, Kerry County Council, Laois County Council, Wexford County Council, Cavan County Council, Wicklow County Council, Tipperary County Council, Louth County Council, Longford County Council, Kildare County Council, Sligo County Council, Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council, Monaghan County Council, Galway City Council and Waterford County Council.