Minister Launches 2021 National Gum Litter Taskforce Campaign

By James Fenton

June 4, 2021 at 12:32pm

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Minister of State for Communications and Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth, has today officially launched the Gum Litter Taskforce's gum litter education campaign. 

If you're not aware, the Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT) is an environmental initiative that was set up to develop and implement an awareness campaign to reduce gum litter in the most sustainable way. Postponed last year due to Covid-19, the campaign is making a return for 2021 but will be a little different in that local authority events will be held virtually. 

This year's campaign will look to build on the 2019 edition, which maintained an all-time high of 93% of people stating that they regard chewing gum as litter, up from 74% when the campaign first began in 2007, pointing to the attitudinal impact which the campaign has had.

Photo: Jason Clarke

Research commissioned by the Gum Litter Taskforce and conducted by Kantar Millward Brown during the 2019 campaign highlighted its continued positive effect on people’s behaviour towards gum disposal. That year, the results showed that 88% of people said that they always dispose of their gum correctly, which was up from 54% when the campaign first began. This shift in public behaviour has been evident throughout the 13 years that the campaign has been running, as the proportion of gum as a percentage of litter has decreased by 64%. 

This year, GLT's campaign will have a stronger social media presence in order to reach a wider and younger audience and speaking at the launch, Ossian Smyth said: "I am delighted to launch the 2021 Gum Litter Taskforce Campaign today here in Merrion Square. Participation, inclusion and teamwork are key characteristics of any successful environmental campaign. The Gum Litter Taskforce campaign is an excellent environmental initiative that empowers local authorities, communities and schools to work together to achieve meaningful change in our environment to the benefit of current and future generations.”

Photo: Jason Clarke

Avril Donlon, GLT Project Manager added; “It is great to see the GLT campaign return and continue its success in changing the public’s behaviour towards gum litter. Since 2007, we have seen a significant decline in the amount of gum litter present throughout the streets, villages and towns of Ireland. Alongside the Green Schools, Tidy Towns and Neat Streets programmes, this campaign aims to play a significant role in the overall reduction of litter and contribute to the betterment of the environment. The relaunch of the GLT campaign in its revised format this year, along with our advertising campaign and Bin It! school education programme, can only be successful through continued support from our schools and local communities.” 

GLT is supported and funded by the chewing gum industry, who feel the campaign is pivotal in order to raise awareness and encourage positive behaviour. Nicola Forde, Corporate Affairs Manager of Mars Wrigley Ireland said: "Mars Wrigley are pleased to support the return of this positive and vibrant awareness campaign in 2021. It is important that we maintain momentum on our journey to achieving a cleaner, greener Ireland through initiatives like the GLT and build on the success that the campaign has achieved since it commenced in 2007." 

If you'd like to learn more about the 2021 National Gum Litter Taskforce Campaign, you can do so via this link

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