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Used chewing gum plagues Borobudur temple

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, February 14, 2020  /  05:49 pm
Used chewing gum plagues Borobudur temple

Borobudur temple in the day time (Shutterstock/File)

A UNESCO-recognized world heritage site, Borobudur temple in Magelang, Central Java, is among the most visited tourist attractions in the country, recording around 5 million visitors a year. However, not all visitors treat the ninth century Buddhist temple with the esteem it deserves as thousands of wads of used chewing gum can be seen covering its stone surfaces.

"We're still trying to remove around 3,000 wads of used chewing gum across the Borobudur temple area," said Borobudur Conservation Agency's security working group (pokja) coordinator Hary Setyawan in Magelang on Thursday as quoted by Antara news agency.

Those who pay close attention may notice that the main stupas that sit between the temple's seventh and tenth stories have white stains on them as a result of this irresponsible behavior, according to Hary.

"This careless behavior is done by ill-disciplined visitors since we cannot ask everyone who enters to open their mouths to check whether they're chewing gum or not," he said, adding that it was hard for the temple attendants who safeguarded the area to detect these type of tourists.

The worst thing is, the gum is not easy to remove, Hary said. Simply scrubbing it with water is not enough, especially if the gum has been there for years. Hence the management sometimes uses chemical solvents to finish the job.

"It's very difficult [to remove the gum] by scrubbing it with water; this requires a long time, which is [dangerous] since we may end up damaging the stone. Hence we must do it very carefully, especially if we're using chemical solvents," said Hary. (gis/kes)

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