Cleaning staff the unsung heros of National Day
ABU DHABI // You may have not seen them, but while the capital slept an army of cleaners was up all night to ensure the rubbish left behind from National Day celebrations was gone by first light.
Cleaning staff in their droves, along with 22 Emirati volunteers, fanned out along the Corniche and the Breakwater removing rubbish from parks, streets and roads.
Averda, the cleaning company hired by Tadweer, the Centre of Waste Management, had hundreds of workers start cleaning at 1am on Tuesday.
They were out and at work for 12 hours.
Sukar Raj, a Nepalese cleaner at the Corniche, said, “I started here at 1am and will continue to clean until 1pm. We have almost cleaned the entire area.”
There was a huge number of cleaning staff deployed in and around the Corniche to ensure that all the waste was collected, Mr Raj said.
Most of the rubbish consisted of spray bottles, plastic cups, cans, bottles and plastic bags.
Sohrab Ali, a Bangladeshi cleaner, said: “I didn’t sleep for a minute last night. I just watched television and kept waiting for my duty to begin at 1am.
“During the celebrations we had to do more cleaning and spent more hours to make sure all the footpaths and streets were clean,” said Mr Ali, who has lived in the UAE for two years and earns Dh900 a month.
The 48-year-old said normal working hours – from 3am to 1pm – would resume on Thursday.
The Emirati volunteers wanted to send a message that it was their responsibility to keep the country clean.
The group included Emiratis from Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, who travelled to Abu Dhabi to be a part of the drive.
They started at 8.30am on Wednesday and were cleaning until the evening.
Reem Al Muhairy, 25, said three Emiratis came up with the idea to help clean and invited others through social media.
“This is our country and it is our responsibility to clean our country,” she said.
They had collected more than 50kg of rubbish by 1pm.
Salem Al Dhaheri, came down from Dubai to help out. “We wanted to give a message to residents and tourists to keep the city clean. We littered so we wanted to clean it,” he said.
The city’s petrol stations were also kept busy on Wednesday, with cars covered in silly string and dust cars coming in for a clean-up.
Some waited up to an hour for their turn.
An attendant at the Adnoc car wash on Muroor Road, who was busy collecting money, said: “Of course, today is busy and going to be busier all day as people are flocking to clean their cars.
“It takes 30 to 40 minutes for an automated wash and over an hour’s wait for manual,” said Emirati Ali Mohammed.
Published: December 3, 2014 04:00 AM