A SUPER-strength gum-busting machine is hitting Sunderland to blitz it free of chewing gum.
Sunderland City Council’s two new Gumpak machines will provide a quicker, easier and more affordable way of blasting away the unsightly mess that plagues the city’s streets.
Councillor James Blackburn, portfolio holder for city services at Sunderland City Council, said: “Chewing gum is a very difficult type of litter to deal with and like all litter, it should be disposed of properly.
“If it isn’t put into a bin and ends up on the street then it makes paved areas look grimy and dirty.
“Now with this machine the city council has a far more efficient and effective way of removing old gum.
“This is helping keep costs down for tax payers and means staff, that might have spent long periods on removing gum, can now get on with other tasks that are just as important.”
Chewing gum is highly resistant to chemical treatments and it does not easily degrade.
Its stickiness means normal cleaning methods such street sweeping and litter-picking don’t work.
Previously, council workers tackled the problem with jet washers and steam cleaners, costly methods which can cause damage to pavements.
The Gumpak machines, which cost £4,000 in total, use a special solution which require less water and are less abrasive than other cleaning methods, blasting away the gum in a matter of seconds.
The machine, which was invented by a British company, weighs just 8kg and is self-powered.
Its first jobs in the city have seen it used in Market Square and on the High Street.
In 2010 and 2011, Gumpak won environmental awards for their chewing gum removal products.
The council are also trialling a locally-sourced chewing gum repellent supplied by 4Earth Solutions, in Sunniside.
Gum Stopper is a non-toxic, brush-on liquid, which provides protection from oil and bird droppings, as well as from gum.