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September 3, 2015

“Dark Side of the Chew” Explores Chewing Gum and How it Affects the Environment


Did you know that chewing gum is the world’s second most common form of litter? Andrew Nisker, director of the film “Dark Side of the Chew” is working to encourage others to pay attention to their gum disposal, and how their chewing habits are affecting our environment.

“Dark Side of the Chew” will be screened as part of GFDD/Funglode’s annual Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF) this September. Viewings will take place in Santo Domingo, Colegio Loyola and APEC; Santiago, Instituto Iberia; and La Vega, UNPHU. Nisker will be attending the screenings to talk with attendees about the film and answer their questions.

Nisker says “Gum is usually the first consumer transaction a child experiences. They ask their parent for a coin to put in the gum ball machine.” While chewing gum is something that people of all ages all around the world do almost mindlessly each day, many are unaware of how their disposal habits are adding up.

Chewing gum has been around for thousands of years, but the problems only began recently. “Major gum manufactures changed their formulation to meet demand. They created gum from synthetics (polymer) and moved away from natural gum base (chicle). That was over sixty years ago, and we now have planet coated in plastic polymer that never seems to go away,” A lot of resources, time, and money are spent removing discarded gum from sidewalks and roadways. Even after removal, it often washes down into our watershed, which only adds to the large plastic pollution problem we already face.

While Nisker is worried about the dangers that chewing gum poses to the environment, his goal is not to ban the chewy pastime. “This isn’t an anti-gum film by any means. We just want consumers to be aware about what they are chewing and know that the perceived simple act of spitting your gum out on the street instead of properly disposing of it has a massive environmental and economic cost… it’s up to you and me to remind fellow gum chewers about doing the right thing, putting your gum in the garbage bin.”

About Andrew Nisker
Andrew Nisker is a filmmaker, author, activist, and teacher. He graduated from York University’s film school and then signed a first-look deal with Broadway Video. He also wrote, directed, and produced several documentary shorts. Nisker returned to Canada and became a director for lifestyle and documentary television for networks including CBC, CTV, Chum Television, and others, and began producing and directing full-length documentary films. He is also the founder of the film distributor Take Action Films and a board member for Planet In Focus Film Festival.

About the DREFF
Since its creation 2011, the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DREFF)- an initiative of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (Funglode) -has been providing Dominicans with a platform of knowledge and debate on the environment and sustainable development, along with its challenges and best practices while celebrating the unique beauty and wealth that is the Dominican Republic’s natural heritage.

With a diverse selection of films and numerous panels, workshops, seminars, and community activities, the DREFF promotes dialogue and the exchange of knowledge and experience, inspiring Dominicans to adopt actions that contribute to the appreciation, conservation, and sustainable use of their environmental resources.

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