New restrictions to some State Land sites – Zone Captains will inform Organisers

Last year, five of my students and an ICCS Organiser were issued a “stern warning” for trespassing on state land at Tanah Merah – you can read about it here. These signs certainly caught us by surprised as ITE College West (School of Engineering) and Nanyang Girls’ Boarding School had worked at Tanah Merah 7 for ICCS 2013 the previous week without incident.

These new signs are different from all others which have previously marked State Land – they promise that “Trespassers will be arrested”. And indeed several people have been served notice since.

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In response to queries about the incident, Singapore Police Force (SPF), the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) met to discuss a response. And thereafter, SLA offered to liase with SPF on behalf of ICCS for access to restricted State Land sites. We provided SLA a list of all sites at which our volunteers conduct coastal cleanups early this year and all was ready.

In the past couple of weeks, as we conducted recce trips, we put the mechanism to work. Informing SLA, they have relayed our requests to SPF who have granted us access each time. It has been a smooth process although it has evenput an end to spontaneous trips.

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2014 07 19 08 58 12 HDR
New signs at Lim Chu Kang

Ground recces reveal just two more of our current sites are affected by the new signs in addition to Tanah Merah 7, namely Lim Chu Kang and Lim Chu Kang East – for now. For the upcoming international ICCS event in September, Zone Captains for these areas (Adriane Lee for North-West and Hannah Leong for Tanah Merah) will provide a Point of Contact to SPF via SLA and will have Organisers prepare a nominal list of volunteers complete NRIC numbers.

Whatever the challenges SPF is facing along our coasts, volunteers coastal cleanups along our shores are able to continue their fight against marine trash.

This Saturday, for the seventh year, I am organising a National Day mangrove cleanup at Lim Chu Kang. Permission has already been provided by SPF via SLA and I have nominal roll of volunteers against which we will take attendance – a quick exercise after which we return to the business of tackling marine trash,a loving gesture by a group of people on National Day.

Thanks to NEA, SPF and SLA for all the help.

Photo by Sean Yap, 2013.

Congratulations to Nexia TS for their fine effort of removing of 4,500 marine trash items on Changi Beach!

Congratulations to Nexia TS who conducted a Year-Round Coastal Cleanup at Changi Beach on 11 Jul 2014, as part of their CSR day in conjunction with the NEA Seashore Life programme. This great initiative removed 4,500 items of trash from the heavily peppered coastline of Changi. We congratulate them for their fine effort on behalf of the environment!

‎www nexiats com sg uploads news 2014 2014 11 20CSR 20day 20 follow 20up pdf 1

They report:

“Over 4,500 pieces of trash, weighing more than 150 kg, were collected along a 3,300m shoreline of Changi Beach. The more common items found were cigarette butts and foam containers, consistent with the International Coastal Cleanup 2011 report which ranked these items first and second on their list.

Unique items like a car key and a shaver were also picked up during the cleanup process. The data collected on the trash will contribute to the Ocean Trash Index Report, in collaboration with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore, the volunteer arm of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research at the National University of Singapore. It will be used to raise awareness, identify hotspots for debris or unusual trash events, and inform policy solutions.”

While we conduct ICCS in Sep-Oct, anyone can organise a year-round coastal cleanup at any time. This pdf explains how you can do this. .

Celebrate National Day with a mangrove cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang on Saturday, 9th August 2014!

Celebrate our National Day
with a mangrove cleanup
on Saturday, 9th August 2014!

Sign up here by Wed 6th Aug 2014 if you want to help!

The pre-national Day Coastal Cleanup 2011 cleared more than one tonne of trash!

The Mission:
Lim Chu Kang mangrove is a beautiful and unique patch of unprotected mangrove in Singapore, facing the Western Straits of Johor. It is adjacent to a Police Coast Guard base and offshore, kelongs and fish farms unload their produce at the jetty for delivery to markets in Singapore.

Scientists have worked in this mangrove for decades and though it is but a small patch that remains, it is scientifically interesting and holds many stories about animal and plant life and heritage in Singapore. In 2008, the Sungei Buloh Master Plan revealed it would link up with the Lim Chu Kang mangroves.

The famous mud lobster mounds of Lim Chu Kang mangrove

Trash from the Johor Straits is regularly deposited on Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove and since this is state land which is not used recreationally, this marine trash impact on marine life is battled through the efforts of various groups who conduct coastal cleanups throughout the year at this site.

A typical scene at Lim Chu Kang beach


The removal of trash is tackled sensitively through the actions of small groups. To contribute to this exercise, I organise a pre-National Day cleanup annually in celebration of Singapore’s birthday and invite anyone who wants to help to come along.

In 2011 sixty-four of us removed more than a tonne of trash in 133 bags of trash in just over an hour! And in 2012, with just a week’s notice 40 of us cleared 669kg of marine trash in 83 trash bags. In 2013, 42 of us cleared 752kg in 75 trash bags and 36 bulky items out of the site.

All you have to do is sign up here by Wednesday 6th Aug 2014 to be part of a happy bunch!

48_PreNatiDay_MangroveCleanup-04 aug2012[andydinesh]


  • 0730 – bus pick-up at Dover MRT and one bus-stop after Clementi MRT, along Commonwealth Avenue West Road
  • 0820 – reach LCK, distribute into sub-groups, apply insect repellent, collect gloves and trash bags.
  • 0840 – Safety briefing, identification of Trash Loading Point (TLP) and bus shelter, wet weather plan (carry on unless lightning threat)
  • 0850 – cleanup begins.
  • 1000 – Loading teams start moving trash out to TLP
  • 1030 – clean-up ends, weigh trash and discussion; Q&A
  • 1045 – participants clean up – note: no washing point, so bring small amount of water to wipe down.
  • 1100 – Bus returns to Clementi MRT then NUS


Pre-National Day mangrove cleanup_ Site and Pickup Points - Bus stop at Commonwealth Avenue West opposite block 317
The Clementi pick up point, one bus stop after Clementi MRT


  1. Transport to site.
  2. Gloves.
  3. Trash bags.
  4. Weighing scales.

Be prepared!

  • Sleep early the night before and hydrate – this will affect your performance and enjoyment of the morning,
  • set your alarm to wake up on time – we can’t wait for latecomers (time and tide critical) and
  • have a decent breakfast – it will be a workout, last year 42 of us cleared >800kg of trash!

What you should bring:

  1. Covered shoes with hard soles – hard-soled booties are fine.
  2. Water bottle (at least one litre of water).
  3. Hat and/or sun block.
  4. Raincoat/ponco (we’ll carry on working in rain)
  5. Towel in a bag – to wipe off any sand and mud off you.
  6. Suggestion – dry fit clothes are suitable for this work. A change of a cotton t-shirt is recommended after a sweaty workout.
  7. Light pants will help protect your legs from insect bites as well as from the debris, but bermudas are fine.
  8. Water-proof your belongings.
  9. Some water to wipe yourself down with


Registered participants who require transport can be picked up at these timings/locations (click for maps):

  1. 0730 – Bus stop at Dover MRT along Commonwealth Ave West (Bus stop no. 19031)
  2. 0735 – Bus Stop after Clementi Interchange (Bus stop no. 17181; note you must walk some 100m from Clementi MRT Station)

Note that the bus cannot wait at these locations so do come early.

Meet us at Lim Chu Kang Road end (click link to see map) at 0820 where parking space is available.

The cleanup site at Lim Chu Kang mangrove

Happy National Day!

Happy travels to Sonya Besteiro, our Ocean Conservancy co-ordinator for International Coastal Cleanup these past 11 years

Coordinators of the International Coastal Cleanup worldwide were officially informed that Sonya Besteiro’s will be heading on to her next adventure! Her last day at Ocean Conservancy will be 18 Jul 2014 and Sarah Kollar takes over as the point of contact for international coordinators.

Sonya has been the heart behind the International Coastal Cleanup (and Trash Free Seas program) for 11 years now and has tirelessly forged bonds and partnerships amongst partners. We will miss her very much.

2013 12 08 17 33 17 Sonya Besteiro

ICCS Zone Captains plan for next week’s workshop

Zone Captains are great at the operational procedures necessary to organise an International Coastal Cleanup event. During the ICCS Workshops in July, they clarify burning questions Organisers ask in detail. this is also a time when they meet their Zone Captains with whom they will conduct recce in the weeks ahead before September.

This year the invitation emphasised new Organisers, to keep the number of participants low enough to ensure adequate attention for those who attend the sessions. Right now we have less than 12 Organisers per session, with 4-6 Zone Captains in attendance as instructors.

ICCS2014 Workshop_ Instructor preparation - Google Sheets

For the first time this year, ICCS Zone Captains will be conducting the workshop in its entirety. Three teams have formed to cater to three days of workshops. They have a central syllabus but will plot a lively agenda for each day. New ideas have emerged to enhance communication and I am looking forward to seeing the new techniques to enhance Organiser preparation for a safe and efficient cleanup this year!






Album on Flickr.

Keep Our Waterways Clean (NEA video, 2013)

NEA produced this short video on littering in waterways, as part of the Keep Singapore Clean publicity drive last year. An ICCS volunteer and Organiser contributed to the video as did veteran ICCS Organiser and local NGO Waterways Watch Society and other users of our waterways. I thought it turned out really well.

“We may think that one piece of litter doesn’t make much of a difference. But every bit adds up and a mess can accumulate, marring the beautiful environment, polluting our waterways and endangering the wildlife that resides there. Let’s not let that happen.”

This is one of three videos we suggest Organisers share with their volunteers, along with The Midway Trailer and Jim Tooney’s “Marine Litter in two minutes” video.