Sunday, April 24, 2011

Paan spitting in the UK: Filthy habit costs the UK a small fortune

The problem of paan spitting in the UK is said to be bad across the country. Until this week I had never heard of it or seen any of the detritus it leaves behind.

A press report highlighted the difficult job Brent council, in London, is having clearing away the residual filth from its streets. It now has a high profile advertising campaign aimed at stopping this habit from besmirching its streets. On the spot fines of £80 are liable to face offenders.

So what is paan spitting?

Paan is a tobacco leaf-based mixture. It is commonly chewed and spat out by some members of the Asian community. Paan is made of tobacco, nuts and spices and is wrapped in a leaf.

Once chewed and spat on the pavement, path or sidewalk a dirty dark red stain is left. It resembles dried blood. It is very difficult to shift the stains away.

People who object to paan spitting come from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. Paan spitting is not liked areaware in Wembley was spattered with the filthy stains at regular intervals.

Why chew?

Apparently some who chew paan believe it is a palate cleanser whilst for others it is just a habit I guess.

This habit though has largely passed me by. Perhaps it is the lower diversity of cultures where I live than in cosmopolitan London. However, with Brent council having to spend £20,000 a year to clean the mess up, and now spending £17,000 in an education drive to stop the habit, it is obviously an expensive problem for the UK as a whole.

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