Auckland Knee-Deep in World Cup Trash

Auckland saw over 100,000 people create a trail of mess and destruction during the World Cup, and yet only 167 were employed to clean it up.

In the early hours of the morning steam cleaners, water blasters and compactor trucks laboured to clear away the debris, takeaway-box’s and vomit littering the streets. The rubbish was so thick on some streets the pavements could barely be seen.

Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development manager of Rugby World Cup communications Simon Roche said 167 people were engaged for the city’s largest clean-up. Electric litter vacuum machines and rough terrain vehicles were used for the first time to deal with about 100 tonnes of extra waste.

Transpacific employee Pat Hellesoe, 64, started at 2am with a leaf blower and said he’d seen such an amount of trash. “Most people were happy but some kicked bottles around which made my job more difficult.” He was more vigilant about where he stepped after seeing several discarded syringes.

Nav Singh, 27, of Civic Contractors, hurtled around Custom, Queen and Quay Sts on a ride-on vacuum machine. He created a big dent in the cleaning process, and although he was working whilst many others enjoyed the fun and games, he was very positive about the work in hand. “That’s our job.”

Richard Bailey, 46, works for the same organisation and spent the morning water-blasting roads and pavements clean. He managed to watch the rugby before getting up at 3am.

Cleaning up the mess can be a difficult job, and not many would be able to handle it, he said. “You have to be courteous no matter what. That can be challenging when people are drunk.”

Cleaners have been organised for round the clock shifts, 24/7 for the next 45 days. Extra teams will be on hand during the games, quick response cleaning groups were also on alert for graffiti, dumped rubbish and tree maintenance.