Ecuador: “Clean Quito” Campaign Fights Chewing Gum

Historic Downtown Quito. Image by Flickr user Nelson Piedra used under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license

Have you ever thought about how much it costs a municipality to remove chewing gum stuck to the pavement? Thousands of dollars in street cleaning, with special technology, are spent to fight this habit of discarding chewing gum on the ground. In Quito, the municipal government and several schools began a campaign that seeks to remove gum from the ground and make the capital cleaner.

The campaign “Quito Limpiecito” [Clean Quito] expects to remove 230,000 [es] pieces of gum disposed of in the city's historic downtown [es], as part of the project Patrimonio Sano [es] [Healthy Patrimony] that seeks to protect the first city declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, along with Krakow in Poland.

A gum “census” [es] took place and hundreds of students marked spots of gum in the streets with circles made with chalk. Some surprising figures [es] are:

800 estudiantes de 40 planteles educativos identificaron gomas de mascar en varios sitios del centro histórico. Cada chicle es retirado en 10 segundos.Miles de chicles marcados con tiza en el suelo de la plaza de Santo Domingo, en el centro, son removidos con dos hidrolavadoras, que utilizan agua a 150 grados centígrados de temperatura. El conteo determinó que hay un total de 47 042 chicles en la plaza de Santo Domingo y entre 10 y 15 chicles por m2 en la Plaza de la Independencia. El valor de una goma de mascar es de 5¢. En 2009 el retirar este dulce de piedras y calles costó $1,96, por metro cuadrado.

800 students from 40 schools identified chewing gum in several sites of the historical center. Each gum removal took 10 seconds. Thousands of marked gum on the ground in the Santo Domingo plaza, downtown, were removed with two hydro-washers, which use 150 C degree water. The count determined that there were a total of 47,042 pieces of gum in the Santo Domingo plaza and between 10 and 15 pieces of gum per square meter in the Independence Plaza. The price of a piece of gum is 5¢. In 2009, to remove it from pavement, rocks and cement, cost $1,96 per square meter.

Centro Histórico [es] describes the campaign where young and old participate equally:

Funcionarios de la Administración Centro pusieron agua y limpiaron los geranios de los balcones de su edificio; limpiaron vidrios y recogieron la basura de las calles circundantes: Chile, Guayaquil. De igual manera funcionarios de la Alcaldía hicieron su parte en la Plaza Grande, Palacio Arzobispal y calles circundantes.

Officials from Downtown's Administration contributed water and cleaned the geraniums from the balconies of their building; cleaned windows and picked up trash from the surrounding streets: Chile, Guayaquil. Equally, officials from city hall contributed on their own at the Plaza Grande, the Arzobispal Palace and surrounding streets.

Edgaretsa (@edgaretsa10) shares images on Twitter [es]:

Niños contando la cantidad de chicles arrojados en la plaza en la campaña Quito Limpie cito

Children counting pieces of gum in the plaza during the Clean Quito campaign

Angel Sanchez (@AngelSanzC) re-tweeted about the campaign [es]:

RT @revistavistazo: #Quito Limpiecito. Campaña para sacar alrededor de 200.000 chicles pegados en el suelo del Centro Histórico || lampara!

RT @revistavistazo: #Quito Limpiecito. Campaign to remove around 200,000 pieces of gum stuck to the ground at the Historic Downtown || awesome!

As the following video shows, “Quito limpiecito” [pronounced leem-pieh-seetoh] is a clean city initiative that advances ideas, wishes and brings together young and old.

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