China is laying the boot into chewing gum, announcing a new project dubbed the “863 program” to fight a menace blighting its public spaces. The Ministry of Science and Technology will stick one million yuan (US$ 120 000) into a special lotion that can effectively dissolve discarded chewing gum, according to the Xinhua news agency.

The clean-up was prompted by the nearly 600 000 sticky souvenirs left by tourists in Tiananmen Square during the seven-day National Day holiday last year, which cost more than one million yuan to remove.