Two cleaners who spent eight and a half hours cleaning Hastings Pier said they were the only people employed to clear more than 200 bags-worth of rubbish left from the Pier Jam event.
Paige Saunders and Catherine Sawyer-Dove, from Fineshine Cleaning Services, were recruited by the organisers of Pier Jam Part Three on Friday (September 7) to do some ‘bottle picking’ on Sunday morning at a rate of £10 an hour.
However, when they both arrived at 9am they said they were ‘shocked to see the carnage of rubbish strewn everywhere’.
Paige said: “When we arrived at the pier on Sunday, we made ourselves known to some teenagers who were apparently the organisers of the event. They said they had no idea we were coming so we called Fineshine to check what was going on and they confirmed we were meant to be there.
“There were other people on the pier collecting the toilets and other bits but we were the only two people picking up the litter.
“The organisers didn’t even supply us with gloves and we had to pick up things like sanitary towels and smashed glass with our bare hands.
“We filled about 200 bags and at one point in the afternoon we tried contacting the organisers to ask for extra help moving all the bin bags into a skip but they did not bother answering their phones. Eventually we managed to do this on our own and at the end we are very proud to say we left the pier looking pristine again.
“It was a very draining job and at one point we were on our hands and knees just piling rubbish into black bags and were feeling very exhausted.”
Pier Jam Part Three – which featured music from drum and bass and dubstep heavyweights Chase & Status, alongside BBC Radio 1’s Danny Howard and many others – was organised by Pier Jam UK.
A spokesman for One UK Events, which organised the clean up operation apologised for the litter and said they were ‘let down’ by 17 members of staff failing to show up for work on Saturday.
However, Paige and Catherine said they were recruited on Friday and, to the best of their knowledge, were the only two people tasked with cleaning the pier on Sunday.
Paige added: “When we were cleaning, a load of people came onto the pier to take pictures and said it was ridiculous that two people were left to clean it all.
“It is inevitable that a load of the rubbish ended up in the sea because, even though we cleaned as quickly as we could, the wind blew lots of it in.
“We were told that, last year, there were ten people clearing the rubbish. The organisers should have put more bins on the pier for the event on Saturday.
“We managed to push through all this mess with little thanks from anyone other than Fineshine Cleaning Services which I’m thankful stayed in contact with us throughout the disorganised ordeal.”
On Sunday morning, many people took to social media to complain about the mess left on Hastings Pier and the impact it would have if it ended up in the sea.
A spokesman for One UK Events said the wages of the 17 people who did not turn up would be donated to the charity Plastic Oceans ‘in case any of the rubbish blew onto the beach over night’.
On Monday, a spokesman for Hastings Borough Council confirmed the rubbish had blown into the sea and ‘made the problem worse’.
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