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Calls for spitting ban in Burma.

Summary: Burma's streets stained red by people chewing and spitting betel nuts.

A campaign to ban spitting in public is gaining support in Burma.

People chewing and spitting betel nuts is common in the country but leaves behind a red stain wherever they choose to aim.

The ban is being proposed by politicians who say many public buildings and public property have been damaged by the spit.

Leader of the Union Solidarity and Development Party, Myint Thu said: "What I want is, in our country there are zones like no smoking, no littering and no honking zones.

"We should have a no-betel-nut-spitting zone. I think that will be more suitable if we approach it like this."

One solution being put forward is to get nut sellers to provide plastic cups or bags to spit in, an idea which is supported in favour of an outright ban.

"Most of the people who sell betel nuts sell them for their household income.

"Betel-chewing has existed for a long time, since the time of Myanmar kings.

"If they spit the betel nuts with discipline, then there will be no issues," said Mar Mar Phyu, a betel nut seller.

The idea is yet to reach parliament and aside from the mess caused, doctors are warning chewing the nuts can damage people's mouths and teeth and in the long term even lead to cancer.

Independent Television News Limited 2011. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2012. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:Dec 20, 2012
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