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Mindless people dropping chewing gum on the streets of London costs taxpayers an estimated £10 million a year in clean-up bills.

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The figure was given at the launch of new campaign to combat the problem.

Seven councils – Camden, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Lewisham, Merton and Kensington & Chelsea – have joined forces with the Chewing Gum Action Group to tackle the unhealthy mess of discarded gum on London’s streets by encouraging people to bin it, not drop it.

Talking bins, boards for sticking used gum to, posters and leaflets are among the measures aimed at raising awareness and reducing littering.

The campaign has been welcomed by London Councils, the body representing the capital’s 33 local authorities.

Councillor Nilgun Canver, vice-chairwoman of London Councils’ transport and environment committee, said: “Dropping chewing gum on the ground is anti-social. Councils and council tax payers are stuck with the huge cost of cleaning up the mess. It’s extremely difficult to remove.

“Litter really bugs most of us, it’s a blight on our local environment. We all need to do our bit to keep London’s streets clean - bin your gum.”

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