Fáilte & Welcome
Céad Míle Fáilte to all our readers, whether parent, student, teacher, past student or someone interested to find out about our fine College.
By Eimear O'Rourke and Fiona O'Connor
Our project, 'The Hidden Cost of Chewing Gum', sets out to investigate the problems surrounding chewing gum in Ireland. We looked at these problems from economic, social and medical points of view.
In regard to economic costs of chewing gum, we contacted county councils, city councils and borough councils around the country to establish whether or not chewing gum related problems are nationwide occurrences, or if the problem is confined to Dublin City. We also asked the different councils to complete a survey on chewing gum, a copy of which is included later in the project. This survey investigates different aspects of chewing gum related problems but deals mostly with economic aspects, such as how much money is spent each year in each specific area, on chewing gum removal.
The results of this survey suggest that although chewing gum related problems are widespread, they are more severe in cities and large towns. On average, councils spend €14,250 on removing chewing gum, with some spending an amazing €54,000 per annum.
We also looked at the economic cost of chewing gum to private establishments, in the form of hotels, restaurants and concert venues. In addition to this, we investigated the problem specifically in relation to young people, who are seen to be the main offenders, by surveying both students and principals in schools, to evaluate the problem there.
To establish the hidden cost of chewing gum on society, we investigated how chewing gum affects the general public. The spectrum of chewing gum related problems ranges from chewing gum on hair, clothes and bags to walking in chewing gum on public streets. We evaluated public opinion on chewing gum through random sample surveying, which produced some surprising results, such as the overwhelming majority of people don't think the proposed tax on chewing gum would improve the problem. The full results of this survey are included later in the project.
We investigated the medical effects of chewing gum through research and scientific experimentation. One of the key questions here was : is it safe to swallow chewing gum? We conducted an experiment using sheep oesophagus and diastase to examine the effects on the digestion system. The results of this experiment are available later in the project.
Another topical question about the medical effects of chewing gum on the human body is: are the ingredients and additives in chewing gum harmful ? To find out we consulted medical dictionaries and literature on additives and E-numbers. We concluded that there is no harm done by the vast majority of the ingredients, but also found some disturbing facts about two of the additives, aspartame and malitol.
In conclusion, we recommend that awareness is raised on the subject of chewing gum related problems, specifically on the subject of chewing gum removal. Would people continue to drop their chewing gum on the ground if they knew it was costing €54,000 to remove? We suggest an advertising campaign to promote awareness of this problem. We include a sample poster board advertisement, targeting young people, who are, according to our research, the main offenders, so to speak, in this matter. Further conclusions and recommendations can be found below.
Conclusions and Recommendations:
Throughout our project, 'The Hidden Cost of Chewing Gum', we examined chewing gum and its effect on the world from medical, economic and social aspects. Some of what we found was shocking, and what struck us most was the sheer ignorance surrounding the problems caused by chewing gum.
Medically, we conclude that although chewing gum will not damage the digestive system, it can cause problems for small children. Dr. David Milov MD, from Nemou's Children's Clinic USA, where 'dozens' of cases attributed to swallowed chewing gum have been isolated, suggests that children should not be allowed to chew chewing gum until old enough 'to appreciate the risk involved in swallowing'.
However, on this point we must disagree. Through extensive research on the ingredients in chewing gum we must conclude it is not advisable to chew chewing gum, let alone swallow it. Ingredients in chewing gum, such as BHA (E320) Aspartame and Acesulfame K, have been linked to literally hundreds of serious side effects. Chewing gum may just cost the consumer 50 cent- but can you really put a price on your health? We recommend that people do not chew chewing gum, regardless of the fact that some dentists advise sugarfree chewing gum after meals, as it is beneficial to teeth, but utterly detrimental to the human body.
Economically, we conclude that the hidden cost of chewing gum to our economy
is astronomical. In Ireland alone, over €413,250 is spent every year
on chewing gum removal, and councils around the country are still dissatisfied
and believe more awareness, more enforcement of the law, and more money
We recommend that the proposed tax on chewing gum be enacted as soon as possible. We calculate that €4 million stands to be collected from this tax. This could supply every city council with two chewing gum removal machines, each costing €7000, and each county council with one machine, and pay a gross salary of €40,000 for a machine operator all equaling €2,054,000. This would leave €1,948,000 to pay for an aggressive advertising campaign specifically related to chewing gum, costing €1,500,000, still leaving €484,000, a significant sum, to be put towards an environmental fund, which could pay for more litter wardens to enforce the laws in place.
When considering the hidden cost of chewing gum to society, we must look at the cost to all establishments frequented by the public, and the public's perception of chewing gum and the problems it causes. The cost to privately owned establishments appeared to be more customer and employee dissatisfaction related than actual financial cost. Our proposed advertising campaign would help to rectify this problem. Our surveys of the general public also supported the need for more awareness about chewing gum related issues, as 46% of people surveyed felt that chewing gum is not a problem in society. Would they feel the same way if they knew it is costing the country €413,250? Or if they had to try and remove it, like hotel and school cleaning staff? Again we recommend that awareness is promoted on this topic- we believe public education is the only answer to this problem.
One of the weaknesses of our surveying was that, regrettably, we were unable to complete surveys in more remote areas of the country. Although we are confident the data we have collected is accurate, ideally we would like to have surveyed more people around the country to make the results more representative of the country as a whole.
However, we believe that this project as an invaluable resource for the Department of Finance, and similar authorities around the world. Our findings prove that a tax on chewing gum would provide a solution, and the basis of a cure, in the form of aggressive advertising, to the chewing gum problem.
A cure, so to speak, is enforced in Singapore, where the government have
banned chewing gum completely. We, on the other hand, don't believe a total
embargo would work in Ireland. Singapore is often seen on the world stage
as a nanny state on the international stage, and this is not an image Ireland
would wish to project. Instead, we recommend increased awareness promotion
and a tax on chewing gum. We hope our project will prove interesting to
everyone and provide new, sometimes shocking, information on 'The Hidden
Cost of Chewing Gum'.
Congratulations to Eimear and Fiona on a wonderful project. Here is a list of the prizes they won at the Young Scientists Competition
1.1st prize in the Social and Behavioural Sciences category.
2.Special Prize- Safefood award presented by the Food Safety Authority.
2. €75 Voucher for Jervis Centre - Mary Gilbane
3. €50 Voucher for Jervis Centre - Miss R. Kelly
4. Presentation Vodka - Eoin Fitzmaurice
5. Christmas Cake - Michael Wheeler
6. €25 Voucher for Jervis Centre - Caroline Kelly
7. Cuddly Toy - Miss A. Campbell
8. Wine gift Set - Betty Burke
9. Bottle of Whiskey- Sr. Eileen
10. Cuddly Toy - Kiera Sheehy
11. Camera Set - Teresa Casey
12. Candle Set - Denise Ryan
13. Wine gift Set - Conor McCarthy
14. Cosmetic Set - Tony Denham
15. Hairbrush Set - Breda Kelly
16. Bath Set - Hazel O'Byrne
17. Handbag and perfume Set - Uny Woo
18. Box of Biscuits - Sr. Maurice
19. Wine Gift Set - Roisín McManus
20. Oil Burner and Picture - Frame Kay McMorrow
21. Jigsaw and Toffees - Jessica Sheekey
22. Diary Gift Set - Zack Parker
23. Biscuits and Chocolates - Declan Salmon
24. Box Christmas Crackers - Derek Sergison
The Parents' Association would like to thank all those who made this raffle a success.
Transition Year has been a great experience that has turned out
to be far more fantastic than we ever hoped or expected it to be. No two
days have been the same. Hundreds of great things have happened since our
very first day in blue uniforms at the end of August.
TY began at the end of August with our visit to Recess in Connemara. Surfing, canoeing, orienteering and sleeping on shelves are things we're unlikely to forget.
September saw us try to commandeer our own sailing vessels, receive our Junior Certificate results, be introduced to Camp Rainbow, start Community Care, our Gaisce Award, and the ECDL and begin the long haul that was My Fair Lady.
October arrived and brought with it Creative Writing with Patricia Scanlan, our first ECDL exam, our Rehab Fundraising Day on the cold streets of Dublin, our mid-term break and our very first attempt at running our own businesses with the production of Lip Balm, Tattoos and Denim Bags.
In November we had My Fair Lady preparations, our first changeover in subjects, some drama, a bit of Legal Studies, some more My Fair Lady and some aerobics thrown in for good measure.
December began and so did our preparations for Christmas, another Creative Writing class, a Carol Service in Highfield Hospital and the beginning of what was to become The Grand Prize Draw for that famous Peugeot 206!
2003 arrived and so did the door-to-door collections night after night in the freezing cold for Camp Rainbow, the ESAT Young Scientist Exhibition, some ice-skating in Smithfield, bowling, swimming and the finale of our Grand Prize Draw.
February was busy with our hilarious Film Studies Day where some of us got to star in our very own TY movie. We got a surprise bowling trip, our spring mid-term break, a weekend in the RDS, and some Work Experience.
March began with the end of our Work Experience, 'Clowning for Charity' Day on O' Connell Street, a hilarious and enjoyable afternoon at The Helix and a visit from the French Theatre Company.
Transition Year has been a fantastic year that has given us more opportunities than we ever knew existed.
In the words of one of last year's Transition Year students, 'Recognise,
that sadly time flies, so grab it before it goes!'
By Sinéad Cronin