Toronto filmmaker reveals the 'dark side' of chewing gum
Chewing gum. It's literally everywhere. And not just in our mouths, but in our landfills and on our sidewalks. That led Toronto filmmaker Andrew Nisker to wonder -- what kind of effect does all this spat-out gum have on our health and environment?
In his new film, Dark Side of the Chew -- which is premiering at the Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival this weekend in Toronto -- Nisker travels around the world to reveal the surprising negative effects of chewing gum.
Nisker explains in his documentary that gum is now primarily made from butadiene-based synthetic rubber instead of higher-cost, naturally-occurring chicle.
"It's pollution because it doesn't biodegrade," explains Nisker to As It Happens host Carol Off. "[Gum] falls under the category of other plastic pollutions."
It's also expensive to clean up, he says. Nisker's own research estimates that it costs about two-to-20 times the amount of the retail cost of a piece of gum to clean each piece up.
"Usually when it's removed -- at least from the processes I've seen in London and New York -- it's scraped and steamed off of from the sidewalk and it's flushed down into the sewer," he says. "It ends up in our water, and as we know... those plastics absorb the toxins in the water and fish see the little plastic particles floating around and they eat them and they end up back in the food chain."
In Toronto alone, Nisker estimates that there are around 700 million pieces of gum currently on the sidewalks, equaling about 2,000 tons.
Watch the trailer for Dark Side of the Chew: