Gum in urinals sparks anger and disgust amongst students

School cleaners are fed up with cleaning up gum in urinals

Entrance to a mens' bathroom at Langara. Photo by Joshua Rey.
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Reported by Joshua Rey

Student Saber Hashemi was so angry about constantly finding gum in Langara’s urinals that he wrote a post about it on the Langara Textbook Buy and Sell Facebook group.

Hashemi wrote in a post directed at the gum chewers that he hopes “the gum bounces straight back into your mouth” and signed it as a guy grossed out at seeing half-chewed gum where he pees.

Hashemi’s post received more than 100 reactions from outraged students, all disgusted with the bathroom litter that they too have witnessed. One popular comment said Hashemi should instead “wish that their career ends up as them being a custodian that has to clean gum from urinals.” Other commenters on Hashemi’s original post urged littering students to instead use mints or throw gum away in the garbage.

“Dear Langara students who spit their gum into the urinals, I hope the gum bounces straight back into your mouth next time you decide to dispose of it there instead of the trash.”

– Saber Hashemi’s Facebook post

“It’s like, why? Why would you do that?” Hashemi said in an interview. “Is it more convenient than spitting in the garbage can? It’s actually less convenient.”

Another commenter said the problem continued into classrooms, writing that the “T Building chemistry floor is a notorious dumping ground for gum spitters.”

‘It is a constant issue and is disrespectful to the janitors’

Dwayne Doornbosch, the director of facilities at Langara, said the problem has the school’s cleaners fed up as well.

“Gum is removed a couple of times by janitors every day,” said Doornbosch in an email. “It is a constant issue and is disrespectful to the janitors. The urinals don’t get significantly damaged, but they can cause overflowing.”

Plumber Alan Nakade said gum can have a big impact on the plumbing system.

“Gum can plug up a drain. There is no chemical effect but it is still concerning,” said Nakade, who works for Lambert Plumbing Heating & Air.

Hashemi also advocates for some kind of signage by the urinals.

“It may sound silly but a sign is readable and should stop gum from getting in the urinals,” he said. “It’s pretty disgusting to look at it every day.”

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