Saturday, April 18, 2015

Chewing Gum

Singapore gets a lot of flak in international media for its draconian ban on chewing gums. Chewing Gums in Singapore have been banned since 1992. There is an interesting Wikipedia article about the ban. The gist being – Gums are expensive to clean and they cause a lot of nuisance if they are stuck in public properties – like train door sensors, public-transport seats or even on elevator buttons. The logical thing the Government did back then was – just ban the gums.

Any big metropolitan city that I have been to, one thing I have distinctly noticed on the pavements always is – stuck chewing gums. These are remarkably absent in Singapore. The cost of cleaning one such stuck gum is approximated to around 3 SGD. And then in the public restrooms in these cities, I have occasionally seen a lone chewing gum happily dancing away in a urinal for what might seem like ages. And the gum is not biodegradable. So the freedom of having chewing gums is associated with a big cost for the city to clean the gum.

Chewing gum on Sidewalk

Since I had nothing much to do on the weekend, I actually spent sometime surfing YouTube for “chewing gum cleaning machines”, and the internet sure didn’t disappoint me. That does look like a lot of effort (and $$)

High-pressure Dry-ice blasting of Chewing Gums

Anyway, to conclude, if you eat chewing gums, please be extra careful to dispose them off in the right places (rubbish chutes) and prevent causing litter that is expensive and unsightly. That’s my community service message for the day.

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