How 300 Dubai workers cleaned up Burj Khalifa NYE fireworks zones in 90 minutes

The team managed to remove litter from 2-km area and reopen sites an hour earlier than in previous year

Supplied photos
Supplied photos

Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Fri 13 Jan 2023, 3:51 PM

Last updated: Fri 13 Jan 2023, 10:18 PM

UAE-based facilities management service provider, Emrill, cleaned up the Downtown Dubai area within just 1.5 hours after the new year’s fireworks at Burj Khalifa. This is an hour earlier than in the previous year.

The operation, surrounding the areas of Emaar’s flagship community, was divided into seven zones and involved over 300 personnel.

“It was a very systematic operation,” said Gopalakrishnan, Emrill’s operations director. “We had a clear plan of which areas needed to be cleaned first and where to direct the public. With the removal of Covid-19 restrictions this year, there were higher numbers of attendees at the event, yet we managed to reopen the sites a full hour earlier than in the previous year.”

This is the tenth consecutive year that Emrill is returning to the site to provide cleaning services following new year’s eve celebrations.

Building on experience

According to Gopalakrishnan, the team had a clear picture of what needed to be done based on previous years’ experience. “One month before the event, we drew up a plan on how to best operate,” he said.

“We worked with Emaar and local authorities on which areas needed to be dealt with first and then assigned teams accordingly.”

During the event, Emrill had 262 cleaning operatives, 45 technicians, and 34 supervisors and managers to aid in the clean-up efforts. The entire area was divided into seven zones and each zone had a supervisor and a team of at least 20 cleaners.

“From the last few years, we know that as soon as the event is over, people start leaving,” he said.

“So immediately after the fireworks finished, we brought machines to the road along with all the required tools, with the support of the local authorities. Our staff also proceeded to direct visitors along the footpaths while we cleaned the roads.”

The company used specialised cleaning equipment, including street cleaners, road and pavement sweeper machinery, and mobile high-pressure washers, after the conclusion of celebrations to return the sites to their original states.

The biggest challenge for the team was undoubtedly the burgeoning crowds at the site. “Whenever there is a large crowd of people, there is often a substantial amount of litter that needs to be cleaned up”, said Gopalakrishnan.

“That was the only challenge we faced but, after so many years, we anticipate it and work accordingly.”

Providing services

Emrill’s teams were responsible for the safety and cleanliness of a two square-kilometre area in locations including Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Boulevard, Souk Al Bahar bridge, and surrounding plaza, park and promenade areas.

They were tasked with the removal of litter, frequent emptying of waste containers and ashtrays to minimise the risk of fire and keeping pathways clear of any obstructions. They were also involved in routine inspections, dealing with technical difficulties and checking for water connections and leakages.

The team also removed planter pots and scenic furniture prior to the event to give a wider viewing area and installed additional waste bins, provided temporary waste storage areas, and installed supplementary lighting fixtures.


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