SUNDAY TIMES -- Jeremy Clarkson puts chewing gum in the crosshairs and ends up reducing anti-chewing gum crusaders to a motley group of losers. Clarkson writes:
Sure, we could go back to the days when gum was made from natural products, rather than latex, but since Britain alone consumes 935m packets a year this would mean uprooting every tree from Tierra del Fuego to the Rio Grande. And I doubt this would go down well with some of the summit’s more communistic representatives who suggested that Wrigley, which has a 90% share of Britain’s £300m gum industry, should be made to share the clean-up costs.
Others reckoned that shops should be made to display notices advising Britain’s gum chewers of their responsibilities. Nice idea, but as a general rule gum tends to be chewed by people who can’t read.
And me. I’m ashamed to say that I don’t always dispose of it in what you might call a socially responsible fashion. This is disgusting, I know. I’ve had two pairs of trousers ruined by other people’s gum and I realise I should know better, but I’m being realistic. It happens.
I’m therefore in a good position to work out what might be done to mend the error of my ways. Obviously, if a refuse collector sees me jettison some gum from the window of my speeding car I doubt he’ll be able to catch up in his dustbin lorry, so that won’t work. And I already know that I shouldn’t litter the pavement, so point-of-sale literature will be no good either.
Until last year the Singapore authorities gave people who smuggled gum into the country a year in jail. But this seems harsh. And anyway, the jails will soon be full of people whose dogs were nasty to foxes. So what can be done? Well, I think I have a solution. And even by my own high standards it’s brilliant. Gumtrees.
Councils would erect poles at strategic points along the street onto which Sir Alex Ferguson and I can stick our discarded gum. They could even be sponsored, like ring-road roundabouts. And when the pole is full it could be removed and replaced with a new one.
What’s more, these gumtrees could be placed on Underground trains and in shopping centres. Enterprising companies could even offer stick-on miniature versions that could be affixed to a car’s dashboard.
So there you are. At no cost to the taxpayer I find a solution. Sometimes I wonder what our government is actually for.
Jeremy Clarkson -- "Sticking one on the anti-gum brigade"