If you have been to any gathering you know when people assemble together, we create garbage. Street fairs, music festivals and sporting events all make a huge mess. Have you seen the trash after a Steelers game? The cleanup efforts are often massive and somehow the unsung heros who clean up our messes restore order until the next event.
Newsweek Magazine partnered with The Mother Nature Network to highlight their picks of the world’s most garbage-producing events. Here are a few:
1. College Football
Any time fans assemble for an organized sports event, what’s left behind are overflowing trash cans. But the worst offenders are college football games. After Georgia hosted South Carolina, custodial staff collected more than 70 tons of trash—broken tents, abandoned grills, and scores of empty bottles. There were also numerous instances of spectators going to the bathroom in undesignated places around the campus.
2. National Mall Events
The National Mall’s nickname as America’s backyard might ring true, except that people don’t usually leave their own property looking like the Mall did after the presidential inauguration in January or the tea-party protests in September. In both instances, the massive cleanup effort was completed by garbage crews funded by the District of Columbia and the federal Department of the Interior.
3. Beijing Olympics
China’s capital was a well-polluted place before the city hosted the 2008 Olympics. A study done after the event found the Beijing Games to be the dirtiest Olympics in history. Air pollution was almost twice the levels of the previous summer games in Athens and more than triple of those in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000.
Start with what powers the races: gasoline, thousands of gallons of it. What comes next is the obvious air pollution from the races and the fans who often travel long distances to the event. Trash trade publication Waste Age did a study on the Daytona 500, which required 200 workers working every day for two weeks to clean it up. ‘The cleaners worked across 700 acres and 168,000 grandstand seats, picking up litter, dumping 3,000 trash cans, and scrubbing 110 restrooms,’ it reported.
5. Mardi Gras
After Hurricane Katrina brought the city to its knees, the size and vigor of former Mardi Gras fetes has returned to New Orleans. The most recent cleanups have included a battalion of massive street sweepers, garbage trucks, and pressure washers—all deployed to clean up the hundreds of pounds of the festival’s trademark beads and other strewn trash.
6. New Year’s Eve in Times Square
After the confetti settles, Time Square is left with a less-than-flattering makeover for the new year. It’s high season for the New York City sanitation department, which works overtime to clean up about 40 tons of garbage. And to get it all done within a few hours.
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