Mexico struggles with chewing gum

Forget about the drug cartels for a minute, a new war is bewing in Mexico––against chewing gum. According to the Mexican newspaper, El Universal, PRI deputy, Juan Manuel Diez Francos, has finally moved forward and proposed a federal tax of 50 percent on chewing gum, or chicle as it is known in Mexico. HuffPost LatinoVoices reports that the deputy says ”the chewing gum tax would help pay for the cleaning of chewing gum that people spit out in public places like sidewalks, plazas and parks. As it stands now, he says, the government spends an average of 2 pesos and 50 cents on every piece of gum it un-sticks from these public areas. The cheapest pack of chicle costs only 50 cents.

“It might sound like a trivial issue, but Mexican’s love their gum. It is the second largest consumer of gum after the U.S. according to Kraft Foods. There are 92 thousand tons of chicle produced each year in Mexico, and on average Mexicans consume 2.5 pieces of gum per day. The average cleanup in Mexico City is 70 chicles per square meter. And in a single day, the cost of cleanup of the Zocalo amounts to approximately 2,800 pesos according to Diez Francos.

“The cleaning of chewed gum is not a problem isolated to Mexico. Diez Francos points out that England spends 7 million euros each year cleaning up gum. And the fact is, chewed gum can be a health hazard since it can contain over 50 thousand germs and transmittable diseases. England’s chewing gum problem is so bad, it inspired artist Ben Wilson to take his talents to the tiny blobs spread all over the sidewalks. Concerned about the environment and how advertisements rule the urban environment, Wilson began painting on the gum. He doesn’t just dab them with color, he uses the gum as a canvas for his miniature paintings which he does just about everywhere and on most any subject.”


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