DUBAI // Cleaning crews were out in force to pick up litter from the country’s parks, roads and beaches in a huge operation in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
After residents and tourists rang in 2017, Dubai Municipality workers dressed in orange overalls were gathering up plastic bottles, food trays, cans and leftover bunting and confetti in large bags.
Work to scrub and clean the streets and sidewalks clear of rubbish was completed hours before the city woke up to celebrate the first day of the new year.
At Dubai’s newest attraction, the Dubai Water Canal Boardwalk, bags of rubbish were neatly stacked along the path for collection before fitness enthusiasts set out for their early morning jog or walk.
“I have filled 50 to 60 bags of garbage since 4am so that everything is clear when people wake up, it’s our job to get everything back to normal,” said Mohammed Arif, a civic worker.
“Usually people keep the path clean, there are only a few bottles to pick up but on New Year’s Day the rubbish piles up.”
More than 1,000 staff from the municipality and private companies pitched in early on Sunday when the festivities ended.
Workers last year cleared 23 tonnes of waste from the Downtown Dubai area.
“The most collected again this year is from the Burj Khalifa area. Workers have just finished cleaning so we will have details only later,” a municipality official said.
“The main areas where there were too many people was Burj Khalifa, Downtown and surrounding Business Bay areas, Sheikh Zayed road, the new canal, Burj Al Arab, the Beach, Al Sufouh beach, Al Khail and Al Wasl roads. We talk to people to take plastic bags for rubbish and we even supply plastic bags also but on new year’s it is too much.”
In Abu Dhabi, an army of cleaners was deployed at the Corniche and Abu Dhabi Breakwater where the majority of people gathered to watch the midnight fireworks.
“I started working from 4am (Sunday) and kept cleaning until 1pm. Almost all trash was collected and now we are dusting up the corners and collecting small pieces of leftovers as well,” said Bangladeshi cleaner H M, who added that staff were paid for working overtime.
After a hectic few hours, the capital’s, walkways, corniche, parks and beaches were clean once again.
Another cleaner, M R, said: “Our duty finishes at 1pm, but our supervisor can extend it if he requires more cleaning work in the city.”
In Sharjah, cleaning crews were out on the streets from as early as 6am.
A cleaner at Al Hira beach said the amount of rubbish left behind after the new year’s celebrations was more than usual.
“I have started cleaning the beach today at 6am, I have been collecting trash that was left behind all through the coastline with other workers.
“There was food, soda cans and water bottles all over the beach and on the benches. We are still working to clean the beach before our shift ends at 2pm,” he said.
Meanwhile, families returning to Al Buheira corniche on New Year’s Day were happy to find the area clean and tidy.
“It was almost spotless, the green patches were clean since we came at 10.30am,” said Syrian Naser Ahmad.
“I had my doubts that the corniche would be a mess after the celebrations, but it seems the municipality crews have been working through the night to clean the area,” said the 33-year-old who was enjoying the public holiday with his three-year-old daughter Nagham.
Last month, in the build up to the celebrations, Sharjah Municipality distributed leaflets urging visitors to keep the city clean.