MORE than $60,000 was spent by the Suva City Council to keep the city clean during the Hibiscus Festival week — but it was an exercise in futility.
"People in Fiji have total disregard for the environment and dirty up even the nicest of places," said Suva's special administrator, Chandu Umaria
"What we saw during the festival was people littering where they sat or stood. They threw rubbish almost anywhere they felt like."
After midday Saturday, the streets of the capital and the area around Government Buildings were awash with litter.
"There were more than 300,000 people in Suva on Saturday, and I understand that rubbish bins must have been full, but people showed no care for the environment or for the city," said Mr Umaria.
The SCC hired extra cleaners for the Hibiscus Festival week to clean the litter from the ground.
Council workers who normally do not work on Sundays were yesterday busy cleaning the sea of trash left behind by those who visited the grounds during the annual festival.
"It is not a pretty sight after any event," Mr Umaria said.
"The fact is for people of Fiji, they think it is proper to regard almost anything as their rubbish bin."
He said that despite the litter laws, people didn't think twice about throwing rubbish anywhere, including the harbour.
Mr Umaria said the council was also trying to remove litter from Suva's beaches.
A visitor to Suva, Andrew Bishop, was awed by the festival but described the litter on the streets as horrendous.
"I stayed at the Holiday Inn and seeing the way the streets were littered made me realise that some people in this country do not realise the type of paradise they live in. They continue to destroy it themselves," he said.
"It will be a case of ‘don't know what you have until it's gone' if people cannot simply put their litter in a bin," said Mr Bishop.