Preliminary results: Mangroves

After a day of crunching data and preparing webpages, Anand Ramchand has sent over the first sets of data from the cleanup.


  • Kranji mangroves (next to Sungei Buloh) – link
    • Singapore American School – link
    • National University of Singapore – link
    • BP Shipping – link
    • St. Andrew’s Junior College & Hwa Chong Institute – link
  • Lim Chu Kanglink
    • Coca Cola
  • Chek Jawalink
    • Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts – link
    • Nature Society & Bedok View Secondary – link
  • Sg Api Api (Pasir Ris) – link
    • Changkat Changi Secondary

To follow: Sungei Loyang mangroves and Sungei Tampines mangroves & BEACHES: status.

Breaking the cycle of plastics in the ocean

Ocean Conservancy Magazine, Autumn 2007 – Feature Story: “What Comes Around.” By Andrew Myers.Breaking the cycle of plastics in the ocean

“Honolulu – a researcher comes upon the decomposing remains of a Laysan albatross chick, a “gooney bird,” as it’s known. The dead bird’s white and smoky gray feathers twist in the wind. A few break off and tumble down the beach. Clearly visible through the bird’s denuded rib cage are the remnants of its last meals. Red, blue, yellow, orange—the colors are striking against the feathers and bleached bone. Plastic shards. A bottle cap. A cigarette lighter. No one can say for certain what killed the bird, but there’s enough plastic in its gizzard to limit, if not cut off, the vital nutrients it needed to survive. “

While cleanups battle and analyse the problem, increase awareness and motivate action, we will need a drastic change in human behaviour, even “broad cultural changes” and technological solutions in the search for alternatives and ways to harvest the current plastic load circling in the sea.

Coca-Cola at Lim Chu Kang mangroves

Coca-Cola has sent a small but enthusiastic team to the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore for the past two years so this year we decided they were ideal for Lim Chu Kang mangroves! The photo albums are online at Flickr: Album 1, Album 2, Album 3 & Album 4.

Site Captain Dewi Anggraini reported (excerpt):

“The cleanup started at about 835 a.m. Participants were given mosquito repellent, t-shirts, tongs and safety boots (for the safety team), etc. They were enthusiastic about doing the cleanup. Initially, they were clearing the sandy area which has a very light load but eventually more teams moved towards the forested parts of the mangrove where the trash load is a lot higher. Some were very excited to find unexpected trash items like big containers, TV set, condoms, bra and big tyres!

At about 9.30 a.m. dark clouds gathered and gradually the wind got very strong, so we decided to ask participants to start moving out trash bags and bulky items to the to the Trash Loading Point (TLP). Near the TLP, two teams were formed to weigh the bagged trash using the weighing scales. Bulky items such as big containers and tyres were not weighed as they were too heavy to hook to the scales.

Another team consolidated the data cards. Instead of a calculator the additions were done by a person who was ‘supposedly good at maths’ :p”












Photos by Site Buddies Abigayle, Cheng Puay, Dionne and Shu Fen.

International Coastal Cleanups around the world – California Coastal Cleanup Day

California’s Coastal Cleanup Day is probably the most populous effort in the world. Two of the Raffles Museum Toddycats! and ICCS alumni Wei Song and Danwei are in California now for their graduate studies and both joined one of more than 700 cleanup sites in their state to contribute to the global International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) dataset. If you have Wei Song on Facebook, you can view his album of photos from the Bolsa Chica Saltmarsh.

So it was not just beaches and mangroves in Singapore. Around the world as the sun rises, people have been hitting the shores:

“Car Parts to Fishing Line, International Coastal Clean-up Bags It All.” Environment New Service, 14 Sep 2007.

WASHINGTON, DC – Some 450,000 trash bags have been distributed free of cost around the United States, and when Saturday evening rolls around, the Ocean Conservancy hopes they will all be full of trash.

Ocean Conservancy’s International Coast Cleanup is the world’s largest single-day volunteer effort to improve the health of the ocean and its wildlife. On Saturday, the organization will hold its 22nd annual cleanup, which now has become worldwide event.

This year the Ocean Conservancy anticipates that 500,000 volunteers will turn out to collect debris and document what they find along shorelines and underwater in 100 countries. This makes the International Coastal Cleanup the largest single-day volunteer effort focused on cleaning up and conserving the marine environment.

“The foam on the shore is really styrofoam” (The Sunday Times, 16 Sep 2007)

The article appeared in a free story in the Sunday Times.

“The foam on the shore is really styrofoam”

It tops list of junk washing up on coasts here. What’s worse, it fragments badly and poses threat to marine life
By Shobana Kesava, The Straits Times, 16 Sep 2007.

UNLIKE anywhere else in the world where cigarettes make up the bulk of junk collected on beaches, in Singapore it is styrofoam.

This material has been picked up in increasing amounts over the last five years, said Mr N. Sivasothi, coordinator of the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS).

The ICCS, an annual clean-up event, is the only concerted effort by volunteers here to analyse the kinds of trash that land up on local shores.

‘Styrofoam is potentially much more damaging because it can fragment badly, whereas cigarette butts stay whole,’ said Mr Sivasothi.

‘The overwhelming problem we have is of plastic consumer items in the sea. As they break down, the chemicals that leach from them can be toxic.’ Plastics are also a threat to birds, which are known to mistake them for food.

Preliminary data from this weekend’s coastal clean-up saw styrofoam caking up the coastlines of both mangrove swamps and beaches.

While the most litter – all 29,801 pieces of it – was collected along the East Coast, Pulau Ubin Beach proved the dirtiest when factors such as the density of the litter collected by volunteers were factored in.

Mr Sivasothi attributed the problem at Ubin in part to dumping.

‘There is a lot of heavy litter like oil drums and furniture parts. Offshore farms may have contributed to this load.’

The litter at the East Coast beaches was linked to heavy usage.

‘Where there is recreation, there is rubbish,’ he said.