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K-pop extravaganza trashed by litterbugs

The Float@Marina Bay strewn with litter last Saturday morning after the SMTown concert on Friday night. Event organisers usually hire cleaners specifically to clear up afterwards. (PHOTO: EUGENE HENG, WATERWAYS WATCH SOCIETY)

Publication Date : 27-11-2012

 

It may have been a big hit with fans of Korean pop, but the SMTown Live World Tour III concert also left a big mess.

Ponchos, plastic bags and other types of litter were strewn all over the Marina Bay floating platform after last Friday's event, according to members of the Waterways Watch Society.

The civic group's chairman, Eugene Heng, said rubbish could have been swept into the bay by rain or strong winds.

"I am quite sure that the performers from Korea would have been shocked to see such an aftermath," he wrote in an e-mail to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who posted the message on his blog.

"It tells you how 'successful' we have been in our education and awareness programmes and policies," Heng told The Straits Times.

Concert-goer Nicole Lee, 18, said there might not have been enough dustbins. "The bins were very full, so people just put their litter around the dustbins," added the student.

And 25-year-old civil servant Chaw Chia Hui, who also attended the concert, said he was used to seeing litter at events. "People will just do it. When one person does it, other people do the same."

Concerts and large gatherings inevitably generate a certain amount of litter, say event organisers. They usually hire cleaners specifically to clear up afterwards.

For instance, SMTown organisers Running Into The Sun hired a cleaning team to work on the entire venue from last Friday until today. Ushers, signs and a Facebook concert guide also reminded concert-goers not to litter.

The rubbish left behind consisted mainly of plastic ponchos handed out to the audience of 23,000, said a spokesman for Running Into The Sun.

"The cleaners have to wait until all the equipment is cleared out before cleaning as it is dangerous for the cleaners to be working while the stage crew tears it down."

Last night, both the seating gallery and stage were free of litter.

Ananda Avalokita of Positive Events, which puts on sustainable concerts and other gatherings, said the firm gauges how many people are likely to attend and provides enough dustbins and recycling bins.

But it avoids giving out water bottles and disposable tableware for food and drinks.

Beach party ZoukOut is also taking the eco-cups route, said Zouk head of marketing and events Timothy Chia. About 40,000 partygoers are expected to attend the two-day event next month.

To clean up after them, Zouk has hired 100 cleaners at a total cost of S$23,000, Chia added. It will also place extra bins at Siloso Beach.

Liak Teng Lit, chairman of the Public Hygiene Council, said he had seen photographs of the aftermath of Friday's concert. He pronounced it "a disaster".

Social norms in Singapore are "quite bad", he said. "We need to figure out what it is we need to do to get people to do the right thing. The answer is not as simple as, you ask them to do it and they will do."

For instance, bins could be placed conveniently at exits, while masters of ceremonies could gently remind event-goers to pick up after themselves.

"We have to stop behaving like a third-world country," he said. "Singaporeans need to have some pride."

US$1 = S$1.22

 

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