A stain on Wembley’s streets: paan spitting challenged with new community-led campaign

15 April 2019

People who spit paan on the streets of Wembley faced a rude awakening this weekend. Local volunteers, together with councillors, launched a campaign with two days of action to tackle the problem of paan spitting in the area.

Paan is a tobacco leaf-based mixture, popular in Asia, which is customarily chewed and spat out. When it dries, the tobacco leaves a dark red, blood-like stain on pavements which is difficult and costly to remove. Brent Council spends around £30,000 getting rid of paan stains each year.

To tackle the problem, volunteers took to the streets of Wembley this weekend (April 13/14) to talk to local people and businesses about the environmental, health and hygiene implications of public paan spitting and drum up support for the new Brent Paan Action Network.

The volunteers were supported by street cleaning and enforcement teams from Brent Council. Enforcement patrols have been stepped up, with public paan spitters facing on-the-spot fines of £100, while the pavements of Ealing Road and Wembley High Road were jet washed by Veolia to remove the existing stains.

Councillor Krupa Sheth, Lead Member for Environment, said: "Paan spitting is disgusting and a stain on our community. We need a shift in behaviour. It is heartening to see members of the Wembley community taking positive actions, supported by the council, to help put an end to this anti-social act."

The campaign is supported by the Brent Indian Association, Diu Kadia Nyati Samaj UK, Bharatvasi On Duty, Federation of Patidar Associations, and Shri Sanatan Hindu Mandir, a Hindu temple in Wembley which is beset by paan stains.

Hiten Vaidya, Chairman of Brent Indian Association, said: "We welcome this community-led approach to tackling paan spitting. We believe it is not solely the responsibility of the council, but also the duty of the community to care for the environment."