Wed 23 Sep 2020: 8.00pm – Chatting with International Coastal Cleanup coordinators from Brunei & Malaysia and our global coordinator, Ocean Conservancy!

After chatting with local inspirations in the recent webinar, we are now very pleased to enjoy an evening with national coordinators in neighbouring Malaysia and Brunei, Theresa and Eliza, who will share how they have promote marine protection during this COVID-19 pandemic.

ICCSWebinar 23sep2020

And we are all very pleased to welcome Sarah Kollar from our intentional coordinator, Ocean Conservancy, to our time zone to share global perspectives! Sarah has been conversing with national coordinators for months during this pandemic as everyone figured out how best to handle coastal cleanups and education about marine environment issues during the pandemic.

Register for the Zoom session at https://tinyurl.com/iccs-chat23sep2020, and see you on Wednesday evening!

Selfish (2019) – the 3D Animated Film by digital artist CHEN Po-Chien

This is an excellent, short animation film (2:27) by Chen Po-Chen highlights humankind’s impact on our oceans.

Po-Chen says while he recalls the lovely images of fish and marine life while snorkelling in Taiwan, the scene of tons of human waste had him ask himself how he could contribute to positive action.

Expand the video to fill your screen and share this!

“Selfish” talks a story about human beings are consuming delicious seafood, but sea animals are suffering from the trash we make — not only do we eat them but also make their living environment poisonous and miserable.

Selfish(2019) – 3D Animated Film from Chen, Po-Chien on Vimeo.

Wed 02 Sep 2020: 8.00pm – New ideas to battle the old problem of maine trash in Singapore, a chat with Little Green Men, Seven Clean Seas, Seastainable & Green Nudge

This Wednesday, join the chat to learn about new efforts and ideas to battle the curse of marine trash on our shores. Come and ask questions. Just register for the Zoom session at https://tinyurl.com/ICCS-chat02sep2020

Wed 19 Aug 2020: 8.00pm (Zoom) – Not impossible! Reflections on battling marine trash in the mangrove by N. Sivasothi aka Otterman

In the late 80’s, N. Sivasothi aka Otterman joined D H Murphy’s mangrove mapping team. As he measured trees, and later studied the fauna, he encountered a heartachingly impossible pile of trash. Who on earth would clear that trash? A decade later, prompted and supported by valiant volunteers, a small team embarked on its first cleanup in Mandai Mangroves.

On Wednesday night, he will recall just some of the methods, strategies, considerations and lovely volunteers who chipped away and showed him that this was not an impossible pile.

Sign up for the Zoom chat at http://tinyurl.com/iccs-chat19aug2020

Webinar1

Glenn & Neil on Money FM89.3 asked about the phenomenal load of marine trash on the shores of East Coast Park

Glenn van Zutphen was horrified by the eyesore of marine trash on East Coast Park in late June (see the image he posted below). So Neil Humphreys roused me for a chat with the two of them on the Saturday morning after the elections:

Glenn van Zutphen and award-winning author Neil Humphreys speak to N. Sivasothi, Coordinator, International Coastal Cleanup Singapore, the National University of Singapore about the top coastal littering offenders, how tens of thousands of cigarette butts are injecting toxins into our very ecosystem, and what we can all make a huge difference in caring for our beaches and mangroves.

Screenshot 758

Glenn_ECP

“…if you dream hard enough, maybe some of them will come true”

“Now, lie down and dream of tomorrow and all the things that we can do

And who knows, if you dream hard enough, maybe some of them will come true

We now call it The Great Realisation and yes, since then, there have been many

But that’s the story of how it started and why hindsight’s 2020”

– Tom Foolery, The Great Realisation (2020)

Announcement: Suspension of the annual data-gathering International Coastal Cleanup Singapore 2020

Dear Organisers,

I hope you have all been keeping well during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I write to inform you that the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore will not be conducted this year. Yes, we are indeed suspending our annual data gathering coastal cleanup activity which has run since 1992. This is the fourth year in which the ICCS Coordinator has had to announce a suspension  in 29 years:

  1. 1998 – tropical storms washed out all the beach cleanup sites 
  2. 2015 – Transboundary haze
  3. 2019 – Transboundary haze
  4. 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic

Ocean Conservancy staff were supportive when I informed them last month of the likelihood of a suspension. Since then, my assessment of the news still concluded we needed to avoid promotion of a mass participation event this year. With 80+ organisations managing more than 3,000 participants in groups of 30 to a few hundred people, the safety precautionary principle applies and we will forgo the data-gathering coastal cleanup this year.

It will be a good time instead to reflect on the message of our many years of data, and to provide suggestions about how we can help to promote awareness of the issue, and review our practical actions for plastics reduction and sustainability. Last year, the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources unveiled Singapore’s inaugural Zero Waste Masterplan with a new target – to reduce our solid waste disposal by 30 per cent by 2030. This national target does require everyone’s attention and meaningful effort, especially with the new challenge COVID-19 has introduced.  

For individuals who are very keen on a safely-organised coastal cleanup, do monitor the Facebook pages of various volunteer and corporate social enterprise groups at https://coastalcleanup.wordpress.com/year-round-cleanups/. Many marine conservation groups are also offering educational online events as never before, which we featured earlier.

Meanwhile, let’s look forward to visiting our shores once again, first to appreciate what we still have, and motivate that urgency in all of us to do better for nature and the environment.

Stay safe and stay informed everyone!

N. Sivasothi aka Otterman
Coordinator,
International Coastal Cleanup Singapore 
National University of Singapore 

COVID-19 lockdown in Asia? Never fear, the marine conservation community goes online as never before!

As Singapore and other countries observe physical distancing, restriction of movement, closure of beaches and access to mangroves  to reduce COID-19 infections in the community, the events calendar for groups in Singapore evaporated. 

Gradually and admirably, a plethora of activity has been offered online, both locally, regionally and globally, such that we can barely keep up! Most news of such events are circulated through Facebook and I tried to highlight these on the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore Facebook page at https://fb.com/iccsg – so do follow that if you are keen. It certainly is a motivational and educational resource which has emerged online as never before.

Many events are long past us, but several are recorded for you to catch up with. Here are some highlights:

“Stories featuring our native wildlife” by Naked hermit Crabs features “Storytelling by Halley and November” [link]. 

Halley  November

 

Gren Nudge interns took to Facebook Live to chat about working at a social enterprise. A great way for youth to learn from their peers, they had many lessons to impart about how they found their internships, the nature of the work, and were cheerful about challenges they face. This recording is something I am pointing my students towards. 

Green Nudge interns

 

ADEX Pixel Virtual Expo’s “Global Vision with Local Social Enterprises – Ocean Plastic Pollution” [link; panel begins after 28:00]: This next highlight was a real find for us in ICCS! I was preparing an advert for another session and realised this was live! It was a lovely session with driven, analytical and hopeful people determined to make a difference, and who spoke with great camaraderie.

I will be sharing this with the coastal cleanup community. There was another session, “Plastic Waste: An inconvenient truth for South-East Asia region – what would work for us?” [link], which I too will catchup with later.ADEX-PlasticPollution

ADEX really meant it when they claimed its the World’s First Digital Dive Show. There are a diversity of offerings on their site at https://www.facebook.com/pg/AsiaDiveExpo/videos/ – if you are interested in marine conservation in Singapore and Asia, you have plenty of exposure to this wonderful community of people!

ADEX_Expo

The Society for Conservation Biology Malaysia celebrated World Turtle Day with an Open House on 26 & 27 May 2020. It was thrilling to hear so many regional experts present on YouTube Live. I especially loved the session of the Malaysian old guard who trotted out to share their experiences frankly. All the advisors to Singapore’s marine turtle conservation efforts were speaking over the two days and the videos are all available on SCB’s YouTube page [link].

SCB-WorldTurtleDay

 

And there is still more to come listen to – this Friday 10th June 2020, scientists in Asia come together to speak about these ancient species on the 1st International Horseshoe Crab Day 2020. Just register at http://bit.ly/HSCsymposium

HSCday2020

 

Amidst the marking of exam papers in May, I responded to excitement over our smooth-coated otters wandering the city during Singapore’s COVID-19 lockdown. It was an opportunity for outreach to a wider audience through print and social media, and the three local radio/online interview sessions were:

  1. 19 May 2020 on One Radio 91.3FM with FD & Glenn [link; 48:30 mins video]
  2. 23 May 2020 on Money FM 89.3 with Glenn van Zutphen & Neil Humphreys [link; 18:29 mins audio]
  3. 27 May 2020 on Mothership.sg with Yeo Tsiu Wen & Zheng Zhangxin on World Otter Day [link; 60mins video]

Otters 91 3

 

These were a sample, there is much more online. The marine community responded wonderfully with these diverse range of marine conservation sessions from technical seminars to interviews, discussions and story-telling for children. While we all miss the sea and our shores, the work does continue – so you can keep learning and share news of relevant sessions with your friends.

Stay safe and stay informed, everyone!

Temp job: Junior Casual Research Assistant (apply by 31 Jan 2020)

Junior Casual Research Assistant for NUS‒NParks Marine Debris Project
2 months position; apply by 31 Jan 2020

The Research Assistant will assist in the NUS‒NParks Marine Debris Project and primarily involve data compilation.

Job requirements:
Essential

  1. Minimum ‘A’ level Biology
  2. Familiar with the use of Microsoft Excel and Word.
  3. Strong written, communication, and oral skills.
  4. Meticulous, good organizational skills and able to focus on detail.
  5. Self-motivated and able to work independently.
  6. Must possess a personal laptop.

Desirable – have some knowledge of marine debris and local environmental efforts.

This is a part-time position, with hourly pay dependent upon qualifications and experience.

To apply, please send a cover letter and CV to Ms Joleen Chan (NUS Department of Biological Sciences) at joleen.chan@nus.edu.sg. Shortlisted applicants will be notified for interview by early Feb 2020.

ICCS on Sat 21 Sep 2019 is cancelled; the 6am 1-hour PM2.5 levels are too high

Update, 7am – your ICCS event should not proceed as 1-hour PM2.5 readings are still above acceptable concentrations. ICCS will not be accepting data submissions for this day; safety first!

Dear Organisers, 

6am – I am suggesting Organisers cancel your ICCS event. As of this time, the 1-hour PM 2.5 levels are too high for sustained or strenuous work. 

20190921-haze

Although the 1-hour PM2.5 has been declining between 4am – 6am, it may still be relatively high for the rest of the morning. And the NEA Haze Forecast states that “The 24-hr PSI is forecast to range between the high end of the Moderate range and low end of the Unhealthy range, and depending on the wind conditions, may enter the mid-section of the Unhealthy range”. See: https://www.haze.gov.sg

With this available information, we are cancelling the event. 

If you wish to participate on Sat 19 Oct 2019 instead, let us know at: http://tinyurl.com/iccs2019-haze
 
Or you may contact your zone captain directly. 

All the best and look after your health, everyone!

Cheerio!

Sivasothi

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore
c/o Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum &
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore