A NEW machine that zaps sticky and unsightly chewing gum in seconds has been bought by Borough of Poole.

The council is one of the first in the UK to use the innovative gum removal machine to clean up its streets, using brand new British invention, Gumwand.

Following in the footsteps of Wembley Stadium, where nervous football fans and managers are frequent chewers, the borough forked out £1,500 on a machine for its street cleaning team.

Chewing gum blights streets and public areas and its stickiness means normal cleaning methods don’t work. Poole town centre and the quay, and Ashley Road and Broadstone Broadway are particular areas of concern.

The portable machine, which costs £70 per day to run, uses a combination of steam and green sugar-based detergents to vaporise chewing gum at a cost of 5p per piece and in around six seconds.

“Before this we would have to cordon off a big area and jet wash the whole lot,” said charge hand Steve Howl. “It’s time consuming, expensive to do and you need a source of water.”

Shaun Robson, head of environmental and consumer protection services, Borough of Poole said: “We are dedicated to changing the attitudes of people who drop gum, and are working hard to promote and encourage its correct disposal.

“Until we’ve managed to stop people from dropping gum litter, we bought Gumwand to eradicate the litter that is already on the street. We’ve had the machine for around two months now and have been very impressed with the difference it has already made.”

Jared Brading, managing director of Gumwand, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Poole is amongst the first local authorities to be using Gumwand to tackle gum”

Streets paved with gum

Chewing gum does not decompose, causes unsightly white blobs on the ground and is a potential risk to pets and wild animals.

Borough of Poole launched its campaign in 2008, aiming to persuade people to dispose of it in a bin.

Despite being an offence under the Environmental Protection Act with a maximum penalty of £2,500, and subject to a £75 Fixed Penalty Notice, streets are peppered with discarded gum, particularly around bins.