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Letter of the Day

Column reaches heights of hilarity

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Mayor Sam Katz enjoys a laugh with CentreVenture chief Ross McGowan on May 22.

MELISSA TAIT / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Mayor Sam Katz enjoys a laugh with CentreVenture chief Ross McGowan on May 22. Photo Store

Gordon Sinclair Jr.'s May 25 column, Chewing out the mayor's poor attitude, on the woman who chastised Sam Katz for throwing his gum away on a patch of grass, reaches new heights of hilarity.

It could have been better only if he had been more thorough. For instance, what kind of gum was it -- spearmint, Dubble Bubble or grape perhaps? Was it examined by a gumologist for saliva to prove it was the mayor's?

And what happened to the gum wrapper, and who supplied the mayor with the offensive, bylaw-busting substance?

A good gumshoe reporter would have collected the information to further embarrass His Worship.

RITCHIE GAGE

Winnipeg

 

Gordon Sinclair Jr.'s column about Mayor Sam Katz littering chewing gum was worth the column inches your paper gave the story.

I am a litter researcher, lecturer and creator of a litter prevention website. Gum is a prolific and problematic type of litter, difficult and expensive to remove.

Edible polymer gums (plastic) become adhesive and don't go away after hitting the ground. They become permanent black or white tar-like splotches on hard surfaces. Littering harms the environment. Mayor Katz should know this, especially with the green goals and recycling targets in play in Manitoba.

In the U.K., the Gum Drop program collects people's chewed gum to make into attractive, pink plastic spheres designed to receive used gum for making more plastic receptacles and retrofitting more public spaces like train stations with them. In Ireland, there's a national gum litter task force, which is achieving some pretty stunning results with its "Bin It Your Way" campaign.

It has been estimated just 10 per cent of people dispose of chewed gum in an environmentally responsible manner (in a bin). Littering is a behaviour that can change, but leaders such as mayors must take the issue seriously, starting with their personal conduct. I am impressed the citizen took this politician to task and held him accountable. Tossing or spitting gum is littering, which is not lawful.

SHEILA WHITE

Toronto

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 28, 2013 A8

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