It might have been the world’s biggest human migration but the Lunar New Year travel rush was nothing to celebrate for the street cleaners of one east China city whose job it was to deal with the environmental aftermath. According to a report by news website Thepaper.cn, a dozen sanitation workers in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, spent the best part of a day collecting detritus dumped by motorists on a section of motorway that runs through their patch. The huge haul of food wrappers, fruit peelings, drinks cans and plastic bottles and bags was enough to fill two garbage trucks, the local traffic police bureau was quoted as saying. While most of China’s motorways are toll roads, the charges are waived during the annual festive season and as a result they become magnets for millions of motorists keen to get home for the holidays – and back again – as quickly as possible. And as the inevitable gridlock swells across the wide lanes, so the occupants of a slow-moving sea of SUVs and sedans turn to packets of snacks and bottles of soda to keep themselves fed, watered and entertained. Tycoon’s US$1.8 million gift to hometown includes wads of cash, TVs and helicopter rides While the country’s traffic authorities issue frequent reminders that littering is an offence punishable with a fine of up to 200 yuan (US$30) they appear mostly to be ignored. Last year, authorities in the Xinhui district of Jiangmen, a city in south China’s Guangdong province, said they deployed almost 5,300 street cleaners and nearly 2,000 trucks to clear 4,500 tonnes of garbage in a single week of the Lunar New Year holiday. In 2016, authorities in eastern Jiangsu province said it would take a month to clear the piles of rubbish that had been dumped on a 70km (44-mile) section of motorway, the official People’s Daily newspaper reported at the time. Social media users pulled no punches in their condemnation of the litterbugs. “They need to be punished. If I were stuck in traffic with them, I would throw the rubbish back into their cars,” one person wrote on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service. “Can we install a few more cameras to catch and fine these people and give the extra money to the cleaners?” said another. But it is not just motorways that suffer from littering during the holiday season. During last year’s Lunar New year holiday, workers at Caka Salt Lake in northwest China’s Qinghai province collected an average of 120 tonnes of garbage a day, according to a report by Ecns.cn, China News Service’s English-language website.