Celebrate National Day with a Coastal Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove (Sat 06 Aug 2016)

Every year, volunteers with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) celebrate National Day with a coastal cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove. This year we will be working on Saturday 6th Aug 2016: 8.00am – 10.30am.

To join us, Sign up here by 1st August 2016!
Transport will be provided from Kranji MRT to the cleanup site @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove

20160712 NatlDayCC

Why do we conduct coastal cleanups? Habitats along Singapore’s coastlines host an amazing biodiversity and trash present in these areas impact our wildlife adversely and devalue the natural beauty of the landscape. Coastal cleanups conducted by volunteers around the world remove this trash, raise awareness about the impact of marine trash, and motivate us to work towards solutions. including sustainable daily practises.

Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove is an unprotected but precious patch of wetland, located in the northwest of Singapore. Incoming trash from the Johor Straits is regularly deposited on the shoreline and impacts the animals, plants and the organisms of the ecosystem there.

IMG_7827

Meeting Point: Participants can meet at the bus stop outside Kranji MRT (Bus code: 45139) and will be transported to the cleanup site at Lim Chu Kang road end, or meet us at the venue itself.

Itinerary 

  • 07.45am – Bus pick up at bus stop outside Kranji MRT (Bus code: 45139)
  • 08.15am – Bus arrives at the Lim Chu Kang Road end. Apply insect repellant, collect gloves and trash bags. Safety and procedure briefing.
  • 08.30am – Cleanup begins
  • 09.45am – End of cleanup; transport trash bags to Trash Collection Points 1–3.
  • 10.00am – Trash is weighed and moved to the Trah Disposal Point; debrief.
  • 10.15am – Participants clean up; there are no public amenities in this area an your legs must be clean to enter the bus. So bring some water.
  • 10.30am – Bus departs for Kranji MRT.

Things to note:

  1. Transport to Lim Chu Kang Beach, gloves, trash bags and weighing scales are provided.
  2. You must wear hard-soled covered shoes or booties to to protect your feet from hazards, else you will not be allowed to work in the area.
  3. A change of clothes is recommended after a sweaty workout.
  4. You must be clean to enter the bus – bring a cloth and extra water to do this.
  5. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites.
  6. We will continue the cleanup in rain (bring rain gear) but cease if there is threat of lightning.

Things to bring:

  1. Water bottle (with at least one litre of water)
  2. Hat and/ or sun block
  3. Reusable raincoat / poncho (we will work in light rain)
  4. Towel to wipe off sand and mud
  5. Change of clothes for public transport.

Be prepared:

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a decent breakfast – it’s hard work!
  3. Be punctual – the bus is unable to wait for latecomers; and the tide waits for no one!
  4. Refer to this recce report of Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove.
  5. Please read our advice to participants to prepare yourself for the cleanup!

Thank you for caring for our planet!

ICCS Workshops 2016: 13-15 Jul 2016: 7.00pm – 9.30pm

The invitation to the 2016 International Coastal Cleanup Singapore Workshop for Organisers has been emailed to the 78 organisers who registered for the cleanup in September. The venue is the Department of Biological Sciences at National University of Singapore.

This workshops are organised to update and equip Organisers with information and strategies for running a safe, effective, educational and green event.

We will conduct this on weekday nights next week (13-15 Jul 2016) in a small-group environment to enhance learning, facilitate the asking of questions and sharing of experiences.

If you wish to attend the workshop, write to us at iccs@coastalcleanupsingapore.org

Update (13 Jul 2016)

Wed 13 Jul 2016: Instructors

  1. Airani S (I/C)
  2. Tan Chia Wu
  3. Yang Yi Yong
  4. Ng Kai Scene
  5. Johannah Wai

Wed 13 Jul 2016: 20 Participants

  1. Ministry Of Adventure (2)
  2. Sukyo Mahikari Singapore (3)
  3. Pacific Refreshments Pte Ltd (3)
  4. PacificLight Power Pte Ltd (2)
  5. Republic Polytechnic Conservation Interest Group (1)
  6. RGBLife (2)
  7. Little Green Men (2)
  8. Ricoh Singapore Pte Ltd (3)
  9. JTC Corporation (1)
  10. Colugo Cub Scouts (1)

Thu 14 Jul 2016: Instructors

  1. Lim Cheng Puay (I/C)
  2. Yang Yi Yong
  3. Joys Tan
  4. Johannah Wai

Thu 14 Jul 2016: 23 Participants

  1. Jurong Secondary School (2)
  2. Thomson Reuters (1)
  3. Renesas Electronics Singapore Pte Ltd (3)
  4. Fuji SMBE Pte Ltd (1)
  5. Siemens Pte ltd (3)
  6. NorthLight School (2)
  7. Thomson Reuters (3)
  8. Celanese Singapore (1)
  9. Paia Consulting (1)
  10. IRAS (3)
  11. Earthlink NTU (2)
  12. Setsco Services Pte Ltd (1)

Fri 15 Jul 2016: Instructors

  1. Teo Kah Ming (I/C)
  2. Joleen Chan
  3. Adriane Lee
  4. Joys Tan

Fri 15 Jul 2016: 18 Participants

  1. Tata Consultancy Services Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. (3)
  2. Alpha Phi Omega (1)
  3. Purac Asia Pacific (2)
  4. BTI (2)
  5. Mun Siong Engineering Limited (2)
  6. NUS High (2)
  7. Independent (1)
  8. Singapore Customs (1)
  9. Tian Hua Fu Tang (2)
  10. Better Trails LLP (2)

World Environment Day 2016 Saving Gaia Beach Cleanup and video

Mediacorp Saving Gaia organised in a beach cleanup on 4th June 2016 at Pasir Ris 6. Their staff volunteers collected and removed a total of 354.5kg of trash from the beach in conjunction with World Environment Day, we organized a beach cleanup at Pasir Ris Beach.

This is the second coastal cleanup they have conducted at Pasir Ris 6 this year and as a result, that beach ecosystem and marine life are getting significant relief from the burden of marine trash. Their third cleanup at Pasir Ris 6 will be part of ICCS in September. This is an excellent example of regular and continuous stewardship which we have seen exemplified too by Bukit Batok Secondary School.

To encourage more people to play their part in protecting the environment, Mediacorp Saving Gaia produced yet another excellent short video which all Organisers can share with their volunteers:

There is a Mandarin version too – available here!

The 2016 Ocean Trash Index – what 800,000 volunteers in 92 countries generated during ICCS2015!

More than eight million kilograms of trash was collected by nearly 800,000 volunteers in 92 countries during Ocean Conservancy’s 2015 International Coastal Cleanup. The data is reported in Ocean Conservancy’s 2016 Ocean Trash Index which was released yesterday which you can access at oceanconservancy.org

Ocean Conservancy’s Ocean Trash Index is the world’s largest item-by-item, location-by-location database of trash found in near-shore environments, representing the efforts of more than 11.5 million volunteers over 30 years!

The solid pollutant of greatest concern in the marine environment is plastic waste with the top five most commonly collected items being cigarette butts, plastic beverage bottles, food wrappers, plastic bottle caps and plastic straws. This pattern is true of Singapore, but we see our list topped by expanded polystyrene (EPS) or styrofoam pieces.

2016 Ocean Trash Top 10

Of the 92 countries, the turnout in the The Philippines was highlighted for good reason –  more than quarter a million Filipinos retrieved more than 400,000 pieces of trash over nearly 1,000 kilometers of shoreline, weighing more than 300 tonnes. What a big relief for their shores!

Singapore’s entry this year is blank because the 2015 cleanup was cancelled due to the poor air condition caused by the transboundary haze pollution. Besides Singapore, Dominica’s cleanup was also cancelled, due to a tropical storm.

2016 is the 25th year of the International Coastal Cleanup in Singapore. Let’s hope we’ll be spared the haze, as volunteers are usually able to clear between 14 – 20 tonnes of trash from our shores. The marine environment certainly does deserve the relief coastal cleanup volunteers provide.

Screenshot 41

Tender loving care for Pasir Ris 6 beach by the environmental stewards of Bukit Batok Secondary School

On 09 Apr 2016, 56 participants (44 students, 6 alumni and 6 teachers) of Bukit Batok Secondary School (BBSS) hit the beach for 90 minutes from 8.30am for a year-round coastal cleanup and removed 584 kg of trash from Pasir Ris 6 beach. This non recreational beach west of Pasir Ris Park is host to marine life and is not cleared regularly of marine trash.

IMG 0724

This was the third coastal cleanup BBSS conducted at PR6 this year, after the earlier cleanups of 20 Jan 2016 and 27 Feb 2016. They plan three more in July, August and September – the last will be part of the annual data-gathering International Coastal Cleanup Singapore. Isn’t this tender loving care for the marine environment and marine life at Pasir Ris wonderful?

BBSS’ cleanups at PR6 were carefully thought out. Mr Syam Lal Sadanandan, the Dean Normal (Technical) at Bukit Batok Secondary School wrote in November 2014 to ask for an opportunity to contribute to environmental protection. Emails were exchanged to prepare the group, fix dates and inform relevant agencies, before he and his fellow teachers met NE Zone Captain Yang Yi Yong for a recce of the site on 7th Feb 2015.

Ready for a series of safe cleanups, they conducted two on 14 Mar & 23 May 2015 but sadly September’s ICCS was cancelled due to the haze.

This year they are on track with three cleanups under their belt already, and have already relieved Pasir Ris 6 of more than a tonne of trash!

The continued and repeated efforts of small groups at a specific sites is extremely helpful for the protection of non-recreational coastal sites. So under the Year-Round Coastal Cleanup programme, we have tried to relieve sites of their marine trash load in a sustained but non-impactful manner:

The Year-Round Coastal Cleanup calendar at yrcc-cal.coastalcleanupsingapore.org
Screenshot 84

The insult of marine trash on our shores is relentless. Certainly working on upstream issues is critical to the solution, and we pay close attention to those who champion this relentlessly in Singapore such as Zero Waste Singapore. In the meantime, we can help marine life immediately and directly. Thus we hope to encourage fieldwork-savvy groups to consider conducting more than one cleanup at a favourite site each year.

Sungei Pandan mangroves was a fairly recent site we turned attention to in 2008. It is no longer covered with a mat of plastic but we are not done yet. Some smaller sites nestled there are both tough sites to work in and sensitive sites we must be careful with. But we will persist and think of a future where none of this is necessary and marine life flourishes on our mangroves and shores in great health.

Meanwhile, the actions of organisers like the teachers of Bukit Batok Secondary School give me much hope!

IMG 0733

“Operation WE Cleanup” – 39 volunteers remove 403.5kg of trash from Lim Chu Kang mangrove [08 May 2016]

NewImage

Sun 08 May 2016 – 39 volunteers joined us early the morning for the “Operation WE Cleanup” at Lim Chu Kang mangrove. This movement is led by the Public Hygiene Council (PHC) to encourage Singaporeans to play a role in keeping our environment clean and we were glad that ICCS could support it!

Collectively, we removed a total of 403.5kg of trash (in 56 bags) over a 90 minute cleanup, leaving the beach looking so much healthier! There were lots of plastic bottles, straws, bags and styrofoam pieces of a variety of sizes. Where do you think they came from?

An exposed used syringe was carefully disposed – it is important that sharp objects be disposed properly and responsibly, to protect everyone who will handle the trash all the way to the incinerator. This is something we reinforce in every safety briefing prior to the cleanup – see Safety Advice for Participants on our website, which dates back to the 90’s!

LCK3-compressed.png

Medium trash load at Lim Chu Kang mangrove. I’ve found so many plastic straws within a small area!

LCK4-compressed.png

North-West Zone Captain, Adriane Lee.

During the cleanup, Adriane Lee chanced upon two mangrove pit vipers. Although venomous, like every other animal, they will not attack unless provoked. We kept our distance but encouraged everyone to enjoy the lovely view of the snakes on the tree. It certainly is important to be aware of our surroundings during a mangrove cleanup and watch where you place your hands and legs –points we cover in the safety briefing !

IMG_7266.JPG

The success of this and every other cleanup was due of course to our lovely team of volunteers who worked hard and were so responsive to coordination. It is a real joy to work with them and we are encouraged to organise more of these cleanups together!

LCK1_compressed.png

Happy volunteers in action – Part 1

LCK2_compressed.png

Happy volunteers in action – Part 2

Otterman shows how we work steadily on a patch of mangrove:
leave organics (including sand and mud) behind, and separate out glass”

Otterman sets up weighing stations with our lovely, obliging volunteers

During our Year Round Coastal Cleanups, we end with a debrief of the trash collected, type of trash and share information about the site, from its historical use to the present day and its conservation status. Our ICCS coordinator Otterman (N. Sivasothi), also identified ways in participants can reduce trash at home or at the workplace.

Sharing our experience with others is also important, he explained, as many would not believe the amount of trash that does settle on our shores in Singapore. We can all help by making small changes in our daily lives. No matter how small the effort might seem, collectively this can be significant!

Happy Singapore World Water Day everyone!

View 100+ photos on Flickr.

LCK5.png

Otterman giving a debrief at the end of the session.

Earth Day 2016 – Saving Gaia Beach Cleanup video (1 minute)

For Earth Day 2016, Mediacorp’s Saving Gaia team conducted a beach cleanup at Pasir Ris 6 and produced another short video. I love this as it features participants explaining why marine trash is harmful and simple steps we can take to make the planet a safer place for all creatures.