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Abu Dhabi's overnight cleaning heroes keep city tidy after celebrations

ABU DHABI // After National Day revellers went to bed, an army of cleaners worked through the night to keep the city spick and span.

More than 4,000 cleaners across the emirate removed rubbish and cleaned the streets over the weekend in two shifts, after thousands of people flocked to areas such as the Abu Dhabi Corniche and the Breakwater to enjoy the national festivities.

Bangladeshi S I, 24, said he and other cleaners started working from 1am until 1pm. By yesterday morning, almost all the rubbish had been collected.

“The company would give them overtime for working more than eight hours and on an official holiday,” said S I, who has worked in Abu Dhabi for six years.

In Abu Dhabi city, about 600 cleaners worked two shifts a day on Friday and yesterday, said the Centre of Waste Management (Tadweer).

Some cleaners said they worked a shift from 4am to 1pm. “Most of the discarded rubbish was plastic bags in which people brought different kinds of food and left them in the parks,” said F I, a Bangladeshi cleaner.

“The most difficult task was to remove the silly strings on the streets that revellers were profusely spraying last night.”

The preparations for the National Day celebrations had included cleaning the major streets by manual and mechanical sweeping, and picking up litter during the celebrations, Tadweer said.

Another cleaner, A U, said working hours were extended during National Day because of the amount of rubbish that was generated.

His company also increased the number of cleaners.

He hoped to receive overtime pay for working the extra hours.

Nepalese cleaner R L, who has been with his company for two years, said he was scouring grasslands and the streets to remove litter accumulated over the weekend.

“We didn’t sleep the whole night. If we sleep, who will clean it?” he said. “So we remained sleepless to make the city clean again.

“Now you can see that it looks same as it was before the celebrations.”

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The National