ABU DHABI // Less than 24 hours after the Corniche was choked with decorated cars and dazzled with fireworks, most of the celebratory detritus had been scraped away yesterday as families flocked to the beachfront. Some people jogged, walked and rode bicycles, while others sat on the beach with their families as clean-up crews continued to collect rubbish.
Surendran Narikutty, 47, an Indian administrator at an oil and gas company, said he had been unable to see the fireworks where he was positioned on the other side of the Corniche, near the Chamber of Commerce building, but that he took in the rest of the festivities. "The roads were terrible early this morning when I went for a walk on the Corniche. They were strewn with trash, but now it's almost clean," he said.
He spent the day on the beach with his wife, Reetha, 47, and their triplets, Ankith, Amith and Akshat. "We just came here to spend some quiet time and enjoy the weather," he said. "The kids brought their scooter and bicycle but they love playing in the sand." Sooraj Mapparavallapil, 30, an Indian electrician at a government department, said he and his friends were at the Corniche between 6 and 11pm on Wednesday to watch the fireworks.
"Many people were throwing confetti and spraying foam from their cars last night," he said. Wilston Etienne, 54, a consultant at an engineering company in Abu Dhabi, said: "It is not surprising to see all this trash around following the National Day celebrations. I have lived in the US for about 20 years and this is a common sight after the Fourth of July celebrations." Piles of plastic bags filled with water bottles, soft-drink cans and food were dumped near rubbish bins.
"People need to be patient," said Mr Etienne, who is originally from Dominica. "It was a successful celebration last night and this can't be avoided. It requires a lot of area to clean up so I believe everything will be back to normal in a day or two." Ripon Mohammed Jalil, 26, and Nazhir Rashid, 27, both from Bangladesh, who work for the MBM cleaning company, said they had started working at 5am.
"There's too much litter, and we might end up working for 24 hours today," Mr Jalil said as he picked up soft drink cans, empty packets of crisps and water bottles. He said about 50 cleaners were assigned to pick up litter and empty rubbish bins on different areas of the Corniche yesterday. Scott Sloan, 32, a British secondary school teacher in Dubai, said: "The Corniche is beautiful. They've cleared up everything and it looks good."
"I've been here a few years before and we've been talking about how Dubai should have something like this." firstname.lastname@example.org