An initiative to rid Rome's streets of used chewing gum has been launched in the area around Largo di Torre Argentina in the city centre.

A team from the refuse disposal company, AMA, has joined with voluntary association Noi x Roma in Operation Chewing Gum, a year-long project to remove gum from areas of most historical value in the centre.

AMA president Piergiorgio Benvenuti said "In Rome 300,000 chewing gums are consumed daily, corresponding to 160,000 tons a year, of which 5 per cent, or about 15,000 gums, ends up on the street each day. Consider that it takes five years for a chewing gum to biodegrade."

AMA estimates that there could be 5.4 million gums stuck to the streets and squares of Rome, and it costs roughly

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