The sky looked rather gloomy when we left our homes for Tanah Merah this morning. Nevertheless, the SUVEC off-roaders were determined to complete their mission – Operation TM Cleanup – this is the third year running SUVEC has contributed to the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore
Driving our mean machines (four wheel drives) through the Changi Coastal Road in the wee hours of the morning, we were praying that the heavens would not open up too soon. A cozy group of 12 (10 adults and 2 children) converged at the NSRCC Sea Sports Centre carpark at 0830 hrs. Some had no breakfast, others were fasting and everybody was in a chirpy mood.
After the briefing formalities (objectives, data collection and safety briefing), we headed towards the beach affectionately coded as Tanah Merah 3, Tanah Merah 4 and Tanah Merah 5 (about 500 m worth of coastline) respectively.
Despite the relatively small number of volunteers, we worked in pairs – one picking up the litter while the other recording the data. The role was reversed after half an hour. The debris collected was predominantly from shoreline and recreational activities. Styrofoam pieces and cigarette butts were in abundance. One of the pairs managed to find a horseshoe crab entangled in a fishing line. Alas, upon closer examination, we realized that the crab could not be saved!
Some of the more peculiar items found include a cone which was brought in by the tide, a big blue jerrycan (possibly from ocean/waterway activities) as well as a huge can of milk powder.
The initial plan was to transport all the debris collected to nearby Changi Village using our 4WDs. However, we met up with one of the coordinators, (ICCS Otters) Vu Tinh Ky who saved us all the trouble by telling us to leave the items collected at the rubbish point along the beach as prior arrangements had been made with NParks for the items to be disposed later.
Then, it started to pour! The heavens opened up at around 10.20 hrs leaving us rather drenched. When there was no sign that the rain would stop and in the interest of safety, we called it a day. So we drove up to Kallang MacDonald's for a debrief, fill up the empty stomach as well as to collate the data. Despite several attempts to upload the data submission spreadsheet via Wireless@SG, it never went through. Since the data is to be submitted urgently, arrangements were made for to have it delievered at a separate location [Thanks, SUVEC! – ed.].
Overall, we had fun although we wish we could do a longer cleanup. Cannot wait for the next cleanup event!
Iwan Kurniawan Ahmad