Environmental sanitation workers cleared 8.52 tons of trash around Beijing's Tian'anmen Square on Wednesday during the Chinese National Day, one-third less than what was collected a year ago.
The drop was caused by three factors, said Zhang Zhiqiang, regulator-in-chief with the headquarters for the environmental hygiene guarantee on Tian'anmen Square under the Beijing Environmental Sanitation Engineering Group Co. Ltd.
As security checks were imposed when tourists entered the square, situated in the heart of the capital, many visitors wrongly thought they weren't allowed to bring liquids into the area. This was evident by a notable decrease in the number of bottles collected.
As a result of the publicity generated by the "green Olympics," visitors seem to have had developed better awareness when traveling in post-Olympic Beijing; many left garbage in trash bins, while an increasing number of people had learned to put trash inside plastic bags they had brought and subsequently took away.
Tian'anmen Square had fewer tourists on Wednesday, the very day when the country celebrated the 59th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The area was cordoned off for four hours in the morning to make way for the holding of a grand floral wreath laying ceremony before the Monument to People's Heroes at the southern end of the square.
Before the ceremony, however, 190,000 people from different parts of China gathered to observe a special national flag raising ceremony taking place at 6:05 a.m..
"More than 500 environmental hygiene workers were working around the Tian'anmen area at 8 p.m. on Tuesday to keep the area tidy and clean," Zhang said. "They also combed the square in groups and used dustpans to collect trash such as newspapers, pieces of paper, playing cards and discarded food packages the next day."
In addition, portable toilets were installed around the square to maintain hygiene, according to Zhang.
Elsewhere, sanitation workers on Wednesday cleared more than 60tons of trash from the central district of the Olympic Park, home to the Birds' Nest Olympic Stadium and Water Cube National Aquatic Center.
On that day alone, 354,000 tourists toured the central district of the park, according to statistics released by the Office of the Beijing Municipal Leading Group for Holiday Tourism Work, which monitors 21 key sites around the city.
The national holiday, which marked the 1949 founding of the People's Republic of China on Wednesday, ends on Sunday.