In 2003, when Macao was threatened by SARS, public awareness of the importance of maintaining environmental hygiene was heightened. As well as paying more attention to personal hygiene and household cleanliness, residents also cared increasingly about the hygiene situation of the city. With this common goal, all of the Macao residents united to prevent the spread of the disease. On 18 April 2003, the IAM and the Health Bureau joined hands with more than 10 government departments and various community organisations in Macao to launch Macao’s first clean-up campaign. Together they formed a volunteer team of over 3,000 members to carry out a large-scale cleaning operation across the Macao peninsula, Taipa and Coloane. With the support and active participation by all sectors, it was very successful. The campaign demonstrated the commitment of local residents to taking care of the community’s environment and supporting Macao to overcome the threat of infectious disease. The clean-up campaign was not a one-off cleaning event, but rather a sustainable programme. It was therefore held annually by the organisers since then.
To raise local residents’ and students’ awareness on the hygiene conditions and cleanliness of households, school campuses and the community, as well as to support the clean-up tradition of Chinese New Year, IAM has, since 2005, organised a large-scale Chinese New Year clean-up campaign to welcome each Chinese New Year. The campaign recruits students and volunteer groups to hold cleaning activities at school campuses and all districts. Through a series of activities, the campaign promotes the importance of a healthy lifestyle and environmental hygiene to raise public awareness of environmental hygiene and encourage voluntary participation in community environment improvement.
Over the years, the clean-up campaign and the Chinese New Year clean-up campaign have been well supported by people from all walks of life and have achieved good results. In 2009, the organisers integrated the two campaigns into a single series of large-scale cleaning activities under the title of “Chinese New Year Clean-up Campaign”. This helped focus the efforts and resources of all sectors and encourage local residents to spring-clean their homes before the Chinese New Year. The campaign includes a kick-off ceremony and stage performances, a photo exhibition about cleaning and thematic game booths. On the event day, volunteer groups also spread out across the local community to remove illegal bills, clean up hygiene black spots and distribute publicity leaflets.
Every year, during Chinese New Year, the organisers hold a series of activities under the “Chinese New Year Clean-up Campaign” including a roving photo exhibition about cleaning, School Clean-up Campaign, Community Clean-up Campaign and Buildings and Housing Estates Clean-up Programme. These activities are well supported by local residents, schools, organisations and estate management entities. By participating in major cleaning events, they learn to value the efforts to keep the city clean and care about environmental hygiene. The campaign also successfully conveys the concept of “Our City, a Clean City” to all sectors in Macao, attracting increasing numbers of participants each year.
To sustain the public spirit to keep Macao clean to prevent the outbreak of epidemic diseases, it is critical for us to always ensure personal and environmental cleanliness. So IAM and the Health Bureau continue to organise cleaning events and activities for the annual “Chinese New Year Clean-up Campaign”, while incorporating innovative elements to strengthen public participation and to invite support from every visiting tourist to spread the message of cleaning Macao to build a wonderful community. With effort and persistence from every one of us, we strive to make Macao a clean, hygienic and healthy tourism and leisure city.