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Right Royal Jubilee clean up in central London
As the Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal party sailed past the crowds lining the Thames on Monday, an 85-strong clean team waited in the wings to return the streets to their royal best. But it wasn't without a lot of prior planning...
With thousands of extra visitors flocking to central London to help celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Veolia Environmental Services and Westminster City Council put in the extra effort to make sure the city was sparkling for this very special event and returned to its best for residents and businesses.
Before the pageant even started, the Veolia teams were lining the route to sweep away standing water on the streets. Due to the wet weather - now rather unusual for a British Summer, crowds started to clear earlier than expected and the teams cleaned up in record time.
The 85-strong team picked up 30 tonnes - 6,000 bags - of rubbish; reams of celebration flags and bunting and even champagne bottles tents, as well as spectator's chairs from the pageant route along the river.
Royal revellers were in fine form, with hundreds even asking the Veolia sweepers for bags to join in the clean-up operation themselves, which took 2.5 hours. The challenge for the teams was an overnight clean-up to ready the city for Tuesday's ceremonial procession.
"We pride ourselves on keeping the city looking at its best all year round, but a super-human effort was put in to make sure the streets of Westminster were ready to welcome Her Majesty, the royal party and the thousands of spectators spending their time and money on our streets this weekend," reports Cllr Ed Argar, Westminster Council's Cabinet Member for City Management.
"Westminster plays host to many big events every year, but this one was a special challenge, which our staff rose to. The iconic streets of Westminster will now be ready for people to continue the celebrations tomorrow as they enjoy the long weekend."
Pascal Hauret, Veolia's Regional Director Municipal Services - London, is also proud of the clean-up efforts. He says: "I would like to pay particular tribute to all our staff who have worked extremely hard over the Bank Holiday weekend, showing their dedication and commitment.
"Once again our team has risen to the challenge and delivered a diamond-standard operation, restoring the streets to their usual high standard in record time. I am very pleased that Veolia has played its part in today's fantastic celebrations."
The work was summed up by Lucas Kulaga, 31, a Westminster Council worker, who spoke to an Independent reporter. "This is a big day for most of the guys. The whole world is watching the streets we look after. We take pride in making London's streets look perfect," he said.
"Expectation is high and we have felt it for the past two weeks we spent preparing. We are pleased to have taken some part in it. It is hard work but, when you get it done, you feel you are doing something important. It is only street cleaning, but we are part of something big."
Some facts and figures:
- 2.5 hours taken to return the streets to normal
- 30 tonnes of rubbish - 6,000 bags - picked up
- Two miles of bunting collected from street parties
- 85 street sweepers working on the ground - a 90% increase on the usual area maintenance
- 20 rubbish and street sweeping vehicles on the streets of Westminster
- Over 40 brooms and some old-fashioned elbow grease
- Thousands of plastic bottles collected
- Flags and hundreds of metres of bunting
14th June 2012