Pasifika Cleanup 2011
200,000 people, 9 hours, 26 hectares - that's the Pasifika Festival at Western Springs. Of course it's the island atmosphere, the Pacific beat and hospitality that makes the event for the many people who visit the Festival.
For City Parks Services, however, the Festival means a clean up crew of 60 on the day, 400 bins, and thousands of kilograms of rubbish to be recycled. And it's not just the obvious emptying of bins and collecting of litter during the event that's required. Before Festival day, the many bins and skips need to be put in place, recycling stations set up, fields marked for stall sites and the weir modified.
Throughout the Festival day, an inflatable dingy or a rowboat patrolled the lake, picking up litter (cans, plastic bags and wrappers in the water) and ensuring that the wildlife was not distressed by the park's many visitors. Just one sick seagull and one duck had to be rescued during the day, although the eels proved a tempting attraction for the children.
A barrier across the creek was successful in catching pieces of timber and bamboo, as well as general litter and fat which had obviously been discarded into the water by stall holders. A mammoth effort on the following day by a crew of 65 people managed more than 18 tonnes of waste, of which 2.16 tonnes of food waste, 750kg plastic, glass bottles and aluminium cans, and 950kg of cardboard were recycled.
On the Monday, the site was rechecked to ensure it was in pristine condition, Umu pits were reinstated, and the fields were aeravated during the week to help regenerate the grass following the heavy traffic on the previous days.
A passer-by on the Sunday following the Festival commented: "You just keep doing a better and better job cleaning up the park." So another successful Pasifika event comes to an end.