By: Anirban Ray

MUSCAT: Amerat Park has drawn scores to its fold so far, thanks to the spectacular cultural performances and the local and international stalls offering a variety of products, sumptuous food items.

It’s entertainment all the way for visitors. But there’s one group that is working tirelessly, making sure that nothing mars the fun. Not even a speck.

Hail the army of cleaners that the Muscat Municipality has deployed to keep the venue litter-free.

Dressed in orange and green uniforms, there are nearly 100 of them, each working for over eight hours daily making sure that cleanliness is not compromised on and the venue remains spick and span.

The fun and glitz around them is hardly a distraction for these dedicated workers, who believe callousness towards their work could mar the country’s reputation.

“With so much happening around us, it is difficult not to get carried away. But we know that it is our work and we have to make sure that the festival grounds are not littered or filthy at any time because that will spoil the reputation of the country. We manage to catch glimpses of the shows during the breaks we get, and that is enough for us,” said a cleaner.

Large crowds mean that things can get quite dirty – be it the area around the food stalls or the toilets. It’s an endless task for this diligent army. A cleaner not wishing to be named said, “I collect three large bags of waste on a weekday. On weekends, I end up collecting seven to eight bags of trash in a day.”

Explaining the work schedule, Suman, a cleaner at the Heritage Village in Amerat Park, said, “Our work starts at 4pm, but we have to come in a little early to get dressed for work and to ready our equipment. The shift ends at 1am. We get a break in between, but not together.”

The workers, who are mainly from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, are also trained by the Muscat Municipality and the contracting companies, to deal with fire and other eventualities and guide visitors safely to towards exits.