What becomes of all of that chewing gum on the pavements of our streets? According to cleaning technician, Sousa Jefferson, it accumulates.
Sousa is the director of Total Stone Care Limited, which has taken on the job of cleaning selected streets in Queenstown and Wanaka CBDs. The technicians decided to de-gum the streets because they believed that there was a need for it and they happened to have a solution. She said that they first remove the gum, then clean the entire surface to remove grimy buildup and congestion on the paving stones.
Last week the technicians cleared a section on Ardmore Street by using their van-mounted, purpose-built machine that pumps out hot water under pressure at about 100 degrees. The gum is basically melted off the street, by the thousands, Sousa explained.
So far, they have cleaned four streets within the district - Searle Lane, Ballarat St, large sections of Camp Street and Ardmore Street - with other streets planned for later in the year.
“There have been lots of very kind people who have stopped and expressed gratitude for making the streets so much cleaner. It really changes the ambience of the streetscape,” Sousa said.
The technical team have not stopped with gum though, they have also spent their time unblocking drains and grates and cleaning the inside of rubbish bin housing.
“We are lucky that the QLDC has put paving stones down, because we can get them looking almost new again. In many urban centres, the CBD may have asphalt and it’s a lot trickier to keep looking good.”
Total Stone Care has also organised a Streetscape Sweepstake, asking people to guess the total number of gum pieces removed from Ardmore Street on their facebook page. Sousa is hoping the competition will raise awareness of the problem. The winner will receive $500 worth of cleaning services.
The two-person team started work again on Ardmore Street yesterday and will continue until today (Friday).
Pictured: (above) Cleaning Ardrmore Street, Wanaka. Photo: Nikki Heath / Wanaka Sun.
Pictured: (below) Footpath before and after. Photo: Supplied
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