While performers and parade-goers sang and danced as fireworks burst over Marina Bay at Saturday's National Day Parade (NDP), about 50 cleaners armed with brooms were wheeling out bins for a massive six-hour cleanup operation.
Their mission: To clear the floating platform of plastic bottles, cans, food wrappers and confetti before daybreak.
"We had only about six hours, as the crowd took some time to clear out, so it was tight," said the parade's logistics operations manager, Master Warrant Officer (MWO) Seah Yong Huat, 53.
This year, cleaners were deployed to line up near stairways and other main access points with trash bags, similar to a practice at most cinemas.
"It's a new method we're trying out, because we got feedback that it was effective during the rehearsals," said MWO Seah, who has helped oversee logistics at the Youth Olympic Games.
Cleaners also used blowers and vacuum cleaners to clean up smaller pieces of litter between or under seats.
MWO Seah added that organisers placed 160 bins around the floating platform, screened video reminders during the parade, and put trash bags in spectators' fun packs.
The NDP generates about 15 tonnes of waste per full show, such as the preview and National Education shows. It is estimated that it generates at least 70 tonnes of waste per year. Of this, about 30 tonnes are recycled.
Organisers will also try to reuse the props for other mass events, said Military Expert 6 Tan Boon Hong, who chairs the NDP's logistics and finance committee.
Educator Ho Weijie, 24, who was at Saturday's parade, said most people sitting in his area disposed of their trash properly. "It's good that they gave us our own trash bags and played the video to remind us."
This article was first published on August 11, 2014.
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