London gears up to clean ‘paan’ stains off its streets, walls

Red-faced over a dramatic increase in spitting ‘paan’ in public places, the London borough of Brent with a large population of Indian-origin residents has decided to re-launch a campaign this year to stop people from doing so.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JAN 08, 2014 01:33 AM IST

Red-faced over a dramatic increase in spitting ‘paan’ in public places, the London borough of Brent with a large population of Indian-origin residents has decided to re-launch a campaign this year to stop people from doing so.

Wembley, which is a major area in the borough, is replete with streets stained by ‘paan’ spittle. The Brent council spends £20,000 every year to clean the stains left behind by consumers of ‘paan’.

The campaign launched by the council in 2010, titled ‘It’s Nasty Man: Don’t Spit Paan’, is set to be re-launched this year in view of the practice continuing to stain public places, council sources told HT on Monday.

The campaign combined a high visibility awareness with enforcement: a fixed penalty fine of £80 for criminal damage. But less than 100 people were fined because of problems in catching people in the act.

Wembley’s streets are cleaned every day, but when ‘paan’ spittle dries up, council sources say it is ‘very difficult’ to remove from the pavements. It requires a specialist cleaning team to use high pressure washing and even this only removes up to 90% of the tougher stains.

Council officials say that in the last few years the amount of ‘paan’ spewed on the streets of Wembley has increased ‘dramatically’.

‘Paan’ spitting is mainly attributed to immigrants from India and other parts of south Asia where ‘paan’ consumption (and spewing) is culturally accepted. Several shopkeepers of Indian origin in the borough have also complained about the stains on their premises after business hours.

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