The Spanish government has decided that it's spending too much money cleaning chewing gum off the pavement. So, effective immediately, gum-droppers will be shot on sight. Kidding! No, the actual solution is to make gum less sticky.

According to authorities, Barcelona currently spends some $131,000 a year scraping 657,000 pieces of gum off the sidewalks. The fines—which can run as much as $589—don't seem to be doing much good, and, as far as I can tell, the King of Spain is not technically allowed to declare a categorical ban on all chewing gum. So, therefore, the solution—according to the Spanish cabinet—is to de-sticky the gum, using " a copolymer of vinyl acetate and vinyl laurate."

The problem is that vinyl acetate has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. But only after prolonged exposure, at levels "well above" the recommended amount! So, don't worry about that. The real problem is that "most of the world's chewing gum is reportedly produced by two non-Spanish companies, Wrigley and Cadbury." So: The government might have some trouble enforcing the stickiness edict.

[Guardian; image via Shutterstock]