An old buddy of ours, whom we shall call Ralf because that was his name, once told us that the best way to find a rubber band was to walk to the begining of any street and look on the pavement. Nowhere is this more true than Lewisham, where an estimated 5000 rubber bands are dropped by postpeople (is that what we call them these days?) every month. Today, the BBC reports that the Mayor's not happy about the time being wasted picking these (bio-degradable) bands up:
if everyone takes a collective responsibility we can live in a much cleaner environment.
Hear hear. However, in a partcularly dry response a Royal Mail spokeswoman is reported as saying they are:
focused on delivering 83m items a day and can't always keep track of every band.
Expect this one to run.
Perhaps Lewisham should team up with Westminster Council who are behind a campaign to get chewing gum manufacturers to assist with the problem of cleaning gum up off the streets, a cost to Westminster of £100 000 a year, and an estimated £150 million across Britain.
But should Westminster really be worrying? After all, the gum manufacturers are on the government backed Chewing Gum Action Group (CGAG) who held a conference on Monday to discuss their approach to the problem. As yet silent on the possibility of financial assistance (the Councils atre asking for a measly penny per stick sold), Wrigley's communication manager Alex MacHutchon said:
we believe a fully integrated approach, encompassing education and the greater enforcement of fines, is required to tackle this issue in an effective and sustainable manner.
And we're sure that will work just fine. After all:
Gum litter is caused by the irresponsible behaviour of a minority of chewers.
That's even better then. It's only a minority. A minority that leaves almost 300 000 bits of gum being ground down into the pavements of Oxford Street alone on any given day. Jesus, how many people are in this tiny enclave of menaces and how much fucking gum do they go through?
So Londonist would like to help out with both problems by suggesting that our postal workers only drop their rubber bands on bits of discarded gum. That way fair minded folk can pick up the rubber bands for themselves, removing the gum from the streets in the process. Alternatively should you see someone dropping gum on the street you should be allowed to walk up to them and kick them in the teeth and then go ask a Postie if they have a spare rubber band.