A beach littered with a “dandruff” of styrofoam – more from the Tanah Merah Chinese New Year Coastal Cleanup

My friend Catherine Yeo joined Ridge View Residential College students on their Chinese New Year Coastal Cleanup expedition and said:

“Watching the youngsters doing their bit for the environment in the sweltering heat, made me feel heartened.”

She did find the trash on the beach distressing though:

“The styrofoam ones were a distressing sight. They were mostly broken bits and pieces. And being white, they reminded me of dandruff. Have you ever … [seen] … dandruff stuck in between hair?”

Read her account at https://thiscatwritestoo.wordpress.com/.

Tanah Merah Coastal Cleanup | This Cat Writes Too

A Chinese New Year Coastal Cleanup @ Tanah Merah 7 with NUS’ RVRC!

On 26th of February 2015, students and staff from Ridge View Residential College, National University of Singapore conducted a Chinese New Year Coastal Cleanup at Tanah Merah Beach 7. This date had been carefully picked last December by RVRC lecturer and also ICCS coordinator, N Sivasothi. aka Otterman, who was very pleased with the outcome.

The team worked tirelessly for two hours, and survived attacks by ant colonies and the slashing of wild pandan! The hard work paid off with 386 kg of trash in 43 large bags of trash, including a 50kg giant rope! There were also oil containers, a mountain of styrofoam and lots and lots of plastic bottles dominating the data card which saw moe than 5,000 pieces of marine trash removed forever from Tanah Merah 7.

What a great way to celebrate the Chinese New Year!

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Briefing about Tanah Merah and the marine trash challenge by the student’s lecturer, ICCS Coordinator, N. Sivasothi

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Several groups, including Professor Anderson fought their way into the wild pandan, tolerating the cuts, to reach marine trash on the high strand line.


Plastic pieces with sharp edges will cause harm to animals if ingested, as it can puncture gastronomical tracts leaving animals to die.

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Indomitably tackling a sand-filled drum!

Nature will find a way – on this reclaimed shore, peppered with marine trash, marine life persists – land hermit crabs, carpet anemone and thunder crabs fascinated students.

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We saw five hermit crabs and one was nestling on a plastic bag. As hermit crabs grow bigger, they change their shells, changing to larger ones which can protect the retracted body. So don’t pick shells on the beach, you may be depriving a hermit crab a potential home.

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A sea anemone was found attached to a plastic bag. This group of students remove it from the plastic bag successfully! Carpet anemone share a mutualistic relationship with single-celled algae known as zooxanthellae. The algae is able to photosynthesise, i.e. produce food from sunlight, and this food is also consumed by the anemone. In turn, the algae receives shelter from the anemone.


Thunder Crab! Legend has it that if you were unfortunate enough to be pinched by this crab, only a clap of thunder will force it to release its pincers and let you go. In reality, contact with the ground and an escape route will persuade the crab to let you go.

To find out more about marine life in Singapore, visit http://www.wildsingapore.com

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Weighing the trash and data collection. Spring balances are used to weigh trash bags. The total weight today amounted to 386 kg.

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A human chain was formed to transport the trash bags to the Trash Collection Point (TCP), for the NEA contractor to collect and dispose of eventually.

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Half of the trash bags load from the morning with more on the way!

Our next coastal cleanup in conjunction with World Water Day, will be conducted on 21 March 2015 at Sungei Pandan mangrove. Mangrove cleanups are a different experience and the fauna and flora is different too. For information about this cleanup, see News from ICCS

Thanks to everyone for their effort on the Chinese New Year coastal cleanup!

RVRC at TM7 group photo
The team back at NUS!

Celebrate World Water Day with a coastal cleanup at Pandan Mangrove, Sat 21 Mar 2015: 4.00pm!

In conjunction with World Water Day, volunteers with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) will be conducting a cleanup at Sungei Pandan mangrove on Sat 21 March 2015: 4.00pm – 6.00pm.

Sign up here by the 11th of March 2015 if you want to join us!
We will provide transport to the site.

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What is World Water Day?
World Water Day is a day designated by the United Nations to highlight the importance of water and to advocate sustainable management of water resources.

Why cleanup? Humanity needs water and wetland habitats are an integral part of the water cycle on this planet. Wetlands habitats are especially precious in Singapore and trash causes adverse impacts to wildlife, releases harmful chemicals and are an unsightly presence we should not tolerate! Coastal cleanups are conducted by volunteers around the world to remove this trash, raise awareness of the blight on our oceans and waterways and motivate us to rethink our habits in daily urban living towards sustainable practises.

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Sungei Pandan Mangrove: Sungei Pandan is a small but precious mangrove located in south-western Singapore at the mouth of the Sungei Pandan, and draining into the sea at West Coast. In order to protect this site, the annual ICCS was brought to Sunge Pandan mangrove in 2008 and the bulk of trash has been removed. However, there is still an annual recruitment of marine trash so year-round coastal cleanups like this World Water Day hope to address.

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Map of Sungei Pandan Mangrove in relation to Singapore. The site we will work on is Sungei Pandan 2 (SP2)

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Volunteers will be picked up from Kent Ridge & Dover MRT bus stops and transported to this Jalan Buroh B25 bus stop which will be our briefing and trash disposal site.


Things to note

  1. Transport to Pandan Mangroves, gloves, trash bags and weighing scales will be provided.
  2. You must wear hard-soled covered shoes or booties to to protect your feet from hazards.
  3. A change of t-shirt is recommended after a sweaty workout.
  4. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites and mud, but bermudas are fine.
  5. Water-proof your belongings.

Things to bring:

  1. Water bottle (with at least one litre of water)
  2. Hat and/ or sun block
  3. Raincoat/ poncho (we will work in rain)
  4. Towel – wipe off sand and mud
  5. Extra water to wipe yourself down

Be prepared:

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a decent lunch – it’s hard work!
  3. Be punctual – we are unable to wait for latecomers; tide waits for no one!

Thank you for caring for our planet this World Water Day!

Sign up here by the 11th of March 2015 if you want to join us!

Singapore World Water Day

Year-Round Coastal Cleanups (YRCC) in 2015 begin!

The annual data-collecting International Coastal Cleanup is conducted in September every year in Singapore and in countries around the world. However, our shores require relief from the burden of marine trash which is deposited all-year round. In response to this are volunteers from schools and corporate groups who conduct Year-Round Coastal Cleanups (YRCC).

Conducting a coastal cleanup at a recreational beach is an eye-opener indeed at any time of the year. You an arrange to do this through NEA’s Seashore Life program or by arrangement with NParks. Do begin your work early – our shoreline cleaners get started at sunrise and will not rely on late-comers to the shore!

Last year, we highlighted these five YRCC efforts amongst the many that took place and we salute them all! Some of these cleanups were assisted by NParks and NEA’s Department of Public Cleanliness, who helped with trash disposal. These agencies are involved in the ICCS annually as well and we thank them both.

  • 15 Feb 2014 – Nature volunteers @ Pulau Semakau [link]
  • 01 Jun 2014 – Earthlink NTU’s Ecoventure @ Tanah Merah 5 [link]
  • 11 Jul 2014 – Nexia TS @ Changi Beach! [link]
  • 09 Aug 2014 – National Day Mangrove Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang [link]
  • 22 Dec 2014 – Cubic Singapore @ West Coast Beach [link]
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There are four types of beaches (Categories A to D) which a group can tackle – see “Suggestions for Year Round Coastal Cleanups.” YRCCs are especially helpful when conducted on our non-recreational beaches and mangroves which, unlike our recreational beaches, are not cleared of trash on a daily basis. These sites are still host to marine life and every effort helps protect them from the impact of trash.

In preparation for such cleanups, Organisers read the ICCS Guidelines for Organisers and liase with an ICCS Zone Captain, who will go on a joint recce with them, to ensure a safe cleanup is arranged.

YRCCs do not require the use of the Data Cards but to record the number of black trash bags and overall weight of the collection, as this helps us gauge the variation of trash load at a site. Some groups prefer to use the Data Card as it informs and educates volunteers. The trash profile and load variation data provides for a greater understanding of the underlying challenge.

This year, SUTD Green Club claimed the honours for the first YRCC with ICCS.
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Others are planning YRCCs later on in the year, including the ICCS Otters:

  1. Sat 17 Jan 2015: 8am – SUTD Green Club @ Pandan Mangrove
  2. Thu 26 Feb 2015: 8am – NUS Ridge View Residential College (GEM1917) @ Tanah Merah 7 (35 students)
  3. Sat 14 Mar 2015: 9am – Bukit Batok Sec School @ Pasir Ris 6 (50 students)
  4. Sat 21 Mar 2015: 4.00pm – 6.00pm – World Water Day Coastal Cleanup @ Pandan Mangrove (ICC Otters; open to public)
  5. Sat 18 Apr 2015: 8.00am – 12.00pm – Earth Day Coastal Cleanup @ Pasir Ris 6 (ICC Otters; open to public)
  6. Sat 23 May 2015: 9am – Bukit Batok Sec School @ Pasir Ris 6 (50 students)
  7. Sat 06 Jun 2015: 8.00am – 12.00pm – World Environment Day Coastal Cleanup @ Tanah Merah 7 (ICC Otters; open to public)
  8. Sat 08 Aug 2015 – National Day Coastal Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang (ICC Otters; open to public)

There will be more than these, we hope!

The public cleanups organised by ICCS Otters will be publicised on this blog and through the ICCS mailing list. Do sign up with the mailing list to be kept informed – at the top of the webpage at http://coastalcleanup.nus.edu.sg.


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Photos from Cubic Singapore, SUTD Greeen Club and Kenneth Pinto, ICCS.

“Pick as Much as Possible” Cubic Singapore’s Year Round Coastal Cleanup @ West Coast Beach, 22 Dec 2014

Connie Teo, HR Manager of Cubic Singapore writes,

More than 25 staff from Cubic Singapore volunteered in its first coastal clean-up on 22 December 2014 at the West Coast Beach. The initiative was spearheaded by Cubic’s first Social Committee members, headed by its Chair Marvin Su.

With the help of NEA who supplied us with the picking appliances and disposal bags, our colleagues went about and around enthusiastically with one mission in mind “Pick as Much as Possible”! A safety briefing was also conducted by Paul Zhang, planner from the Social Committee.

“We chose the low tide period in the evening so that we can help remove as much trash as possible and help keep our shorelines clean and pleasant for everyone and the fisherman who berth their boats there”; said Cubic’s HR Manager Connie Teo. As a Company, Cubic is committed in its corporate social responsibility towards the environment and the community.

We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to Ze Bin from NPARKS for his guidance and assistance.

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Northland Primary School @ Sembawang Beach, 13th September 2014

Mr Manivanan Muthu Somasundram, a teacher at Northland Primary School, led a group of 7 students to Sembawang Park on the 13th of September, filling 9 trash bags which weighed a total of 47 kg.

The litter collected consisted largely of plastic items, namely plastic bags, disposable beverage bottles, straws, food wrappers and take out containers. The most commonly seen item of the day were cigarette butts, which littered the coastline.

Thank you and your students for your work in protecting our shores!







Photos by Manivanan Muthu Somasundram.

Singapore Paddle Club (SPC) @ Pulau Tekukor clears close to 30 bags of trash

Kelly Ong, ICCS South Zone Captain writes,

On the morning of 13th Sept 2014, a passionate team of 22 environmental heros from the Singapore Paddle Club (SPC), lead by Rob Palmer, gave their routine paddle training a deeper meaning by conducting a beach cleanup at Singapore’s Southern island Pulau Tekukor! Whilst this island is inaccessible to public visitors, it is still plagued by much marine trash brought in by the tides.

The cleanup was a huge success after a morning’s hard work and everyone beamed with pride after clearing close to 30 bags of trash which consisted of mostly plastic water bottles as well as abandoned fishing nets that pose a serious threat to marine wildlife. The bags of trash were then painstakingly transported to St John’s Island to be disposed of properly by Sentosa Development Corporation.

The paddling heros ended their cleanup in high spirits. The International Coastal Cleanup Singapore team salutes to their great efforts and we look forward to more of such cleanups to come from SPC!

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