The Chek Jawa 2008 cleanup video!

Ubin Zone Captain Andy Dinesh has completed his video of the ICCS Chek Jawa 2008 cleanup – the video footage is from Chek Jawa and it is peppered with facts from the 2008 ICCS results.

This is our first video out since Wesley’s in 2004; congratulations, Andy!

Get that gill net out of here!

Volunteers from ST Dynamics at East Coast Park Beach Site 1 encountered a fishing net buried in the sand and didn’t leave it there – they huffed and puffed and extracted the net, removed the entangled coral and disposed of it! Well done folks!

Complete album on Flickr – link.

Posted via email from International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

“The Earth’s Call,” by Julienne Reblora

“The Earth’s Call,” by Julienne Reblora, Hougang Sec Red Cross Unit

All my life, I’ve never seen a polluted beach. All the beaches I have ever seen were in beach resorts which are kept clean by hired help. As a volunteer with the International Coastal Cleanup, however, our school’s Red Cross Unit gave me the opportunity to be part of the all the beach cleaning action.

Initially, we only found bits and pieces of styrofoam. Penetrating deeper into the swampy area, however, my golly, you wouldn’t believe it – we discovered a LOT of styrofoam had been washed into the mangrove! My group got very excited as the day progressed because we found more and more styrofoam and the pieces got bigger and bigger. Engrossed in the activity, we wanted to finish collecting it all, but a lot of styrofoam was stuck in inaccessible areas.

We gathered all our debris and recorded the weight and the number of pieces collected. Other trash items included barrels, fish nets, plastics and so on. It was surprising to see that beaches are polluted by so much trash.

This experience opened my eyes to what’s happening around me. We are so preoccupied with unnecessary things – don’t forget that there’s a world out there that needs attention. It needs our help. We were the ones that brought bad changes to the environment, but we are also the hope for a better and cleaner world. The Earth is the only inhabitable planet. The future lies in our hands.

Let us work together to make a difference; this is the best gift we can give to Mother Earth, who has sustained us and nurtured us for a long time. Change in the society starts in each one of us, so do your part!

“A meaningful cleanup,” Bernice Seow

“A meaningful cleanup,” Bernice Seow, Hougang Sec Red Cross Unit
I was expecting the usual pick-up-litter-only-to-get-the-beach-dirtied-less-than-one-hour-later community involvement project. However, this was clearly different – for starters, it was a mangrove cleanup at Lim Chu Kang mangrove and not an East Coast beach cleanup. And we weren’t only going to pick litter but collate data too! 

This last aspect of the cleanup made it a more meaningful activity than normal – by collecting data on the amount and type of debris accumulating at the mangrove, the people with the ICCS programme will figure out the most common material or type of litter thrown.

This will enable the individual to take action and educate the public on the harms of littering. This include the destruction of natural habitats and unfortunate incidents of unsuspecting animals devouring these rubbish and falling sick!

It took a lot of hard work ( and an entire morning! ) to pick up most of the debris there, but it sure was worth it!

“A rubbish dump instead of a beach!” By Chan Wen Xin

“A rubbish dump instead of a beach!” By Chan Wen Xin, Hougang Sec Red Cross Unit

Lim Chu Kang mangrove swamp was littered with different kinds of rubbish. My group collected a total of 842 pieces of styrofoam when we ran out of time – but there was still more to collect!

Can you imagine what will happen if this large amount of rubbish lay uncollected year after year? We would have a rubbish dump instead of a beach!

We can do our part to reduce the amount of litter dispose of, choose to pack our food with reusable lunch boxes and use own recycled bags instead of plastic bags.

Fishermen could be educated not to dispose of their fishing nets by just leaving them on the beach or swamp area. I think we could all work harder to keep mother earth a cleaner place. 🙂

“The extent of man’s imprudence,” by Ian Tan

“The extent of man’s imprudence,” Ian Tan (HS Red Cross Unit)

I have been blissfully unaware, or perhaps ignorant, as to the extent of man’s imprudence. Now, I am aware. And one short trip to the beach was al it took.

When I arrived at the beach, my first impression was ‘’It’s filthy with dead plants and crabs…’’ I soon learned, however, that the filth did not come merely from dead carcasses of beach animals and rotting logs. No, the problem lay far deeper than that. Upon closer inspection, me and my fellow cadets found traces of man’s ‘’work’’ lying all around us.

Our mission? To collate data of what kind of trash could be found on the beach, to see what materials made up most of the trash. Plastic, styrofoam, glass – all these had to be collected. Armed with gloves and trash bags, we set off, and my group sure found a lot of styrofoam!

When you aren’t looking for trash, you tend to ignore it. When you are looking for it, you suddenly realise how much of it there is. That was exactly what happened. I was left shell-shocked at the scene – discarded plastic bottles and bags, shredded styrofoam boxes covering the expanse of the beach and more. What shook me to the core was a tree. A mangrove tree.

Discarded fishing nets had found their way to the beach where the nets got entangled with the roots of the tree. Over time, as the tree grew, and more fishing lines washed up on the beach, the nets and ropes became embedded and tangled with the mangrove roots. As I lent a helping hand in extricating the nets which were choking the roots, my surprise doubled – there metres-long worth of nets and ropes with some embedded so deep into the plant, it was impossible to pull out! That was when I woke to the true implications of man’s destruction – it had been going on for so long, the results were devastating.

Five of us working together did so little to help the plant. An hour’s work didn’t even clear a quarter of what lay entangled within its roots. But yet, it made me feel so much better, that I had contributed in helping the tree breathe more easily and that the beach looked a lot cleaner than when we first started.

I feel that activities like this truly help to open our eyes to the harshness of reality. It brings us out of our comfort zone and shows us the bitter truth—that our world is dying, and it is dying fast. Not only does this kind of activities help with team bonding, it helps the environment, and this single activity may have given the beach a longer lifespan.

I feel very happy that I have been able to help the world, even if what I did is only a millionth of a fraction compared to what others do. I feel that we should do this more, as it has been said ‘’A little difference can set in motion a chain of events that can either destroy, or save this world’’.

I opt to have the difference do the latter. We can’t stop global warming, but we can slow it, for the sake of the next generation. They did nothing to deserve a life filled with misery and hardships physically. But all of this starts with that very small effort to help the world.

Spring cleaning the homes of marine denizens @ Changi Beach 1

50 participants from Northland Primary School, Bioprocessing Technology Institute and Oil Spill Response arrived at Changi Beach Site 1, bright and early on Saturday, 19th September 2009. Rainclouds had started gathering but the gloomy sky did not dampen spirits as volunteers merrily chattered. And a short briefing got the merry crew ready for a “spring cleaning”!

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As we began, a family of four at the beach observed us and decided to join in! They were kitted out with extra gloves from Oil Spill Response and a data card and that lowered the youngest age of our group to only three and a half years old!

Our youngest Captain Planet at work in saving the Earth! See how meticulous she is.

Our youngest Captain Planet at work in saving the Earth! See how meticulous she is!

Andrew Tay, a veteran Site Buddy with the ICCS came once more to guide Northland Primary in their cleanup. As they worked on Changi beach, he filled them in on the status of marine trash in Singapore and how it affects the marine environment and marine life. The students were asking questions throughout and enjoyed Andrew’s stories!

"May I ask you a question??"

"May I ask you a question??"

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Even though everyone was enjoying themselves from the fulfilling work, it began drizzling an hour into the cleanup and most then headed for the shelter and totalling up of numbers began.

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Although the cleanup stopped short of the usual 90 mins due to rain, a considerable amount of trash was collected. The weight came up to 68 kg of trash and the most common items were cigarette butts and styrofoam pieces. We found a few odd things too – a tattered and thin mattress, some golf balls and a few table tennis balls.

Many participants felt that this had been an eye-opening experience. They were taken aback about the amount of trash they had encountered on a seemingly clean beach!

The trash that lies out there is innumerable and it is an impossible task to eliminate it all with a single cleanup. This exercise was primarily a data-gathering exercise and the effort was an important one in understanding the source of the problem.

There was also that sense of satisfaction when leaving Changi Beach that their efforts had Changi Beach a better place for our marine creatures to live in.