The ICCS Workshop for Organisers 2010

The ICCS Workshop for Organisers will be held on

Saturday 10th July 2010: 8am – 12pm
at the Life Sciences Lab 7 (S2-03),
Department of Biological Sciences,
National University of Singapore.

How to get here by bus:
Take 95 from across the road at Buona Vista MRT.
Alight at the third bus stop after 95 turns into NUH/NUS (up a hill).
Walk up Science Drive 4 to Block S2, level 3.
For a map to this venue: click here (the venue is at the “sun” icon).

About the workshop
This workshop is for registered Organisers with ICCS. It intends to help you organise and manage an operationally effective, safe, educational and green cleanup in September. We will also provide you with updates about related marine environment issues in Singapore and you will be discussing operational and site details with your Zone Captains.

Please register at:

The workshop will include these sessions:

  1. Updates about the ICCS
    We will provide updates about marine life in Singapore, debris issues and conservation news at the local and international scene of particular relevance.
  2. A detailed discussion about operations – learning from each other
    After a general briefing, we will break into small groups for an effective discussion about operational procedures and tips with your very experienced Zone Captains who have visited your sites already.

    Some of you will be able to contribute to the discussion (we are eager to hear from you), clarify doubts and learn from each other. This is a very active session as you will clarify many doubts, get to know Organisers at neighbouring sites and arrange for Site Recces.

  3. Issues and resources
    We will discuss the marine debris issue, the link to daily living and introduce some tools to help communicate these messages to participants to being about a more meaningful cleanup. You can copy the updated powerpoints and videos (bring a thumbdrive) or download them later.

We are looking forward to seeing you next month!

N. Sivasothi
International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

Kate Sherman, ICC Project Coordinator at Ocean Conservancy moves on to Oregon State University

Kate Sherman, the International Coastal Cleanup’s (ICC) Project Coordinator has left the Ocean Conservancy as of 25th May 2010. Here are excerpts from an email by Sonya Besteiro, the Associate Director of the ICC, who wrote to inform us of her move:

“Kate, otherwise known as our data guru, developed and implemented the online data reporting tool and the online registration system. She has literally shepherded the ICC into the 21st century and has spent countless hours training you on these state-of-the-art online tools.

Kate has been accepted by Oregon State University to work on her Masters in Marine Resource Management, specializing in GIS and Remote Sensing, beginning this summer. She will take what she has learned here and parlay it into a degree and a career in marine science, especially as related to data collection, analysis and research.

Kate will be working with Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation creating a GIS database and mapping all the marine research that is being conducted off the coast of Oregon. And hopefully in her free time, she’ll organize her fellow students to participate in the 2010 ICC.

We will miss Kate terribly, but wish her the best as she embarks on a new chapter in her academic career. “

We have been communicating with Kate since 2008 and have appreciated the improvements in data reporting and sharing she has introduced. We will miss having her as part of the ICC team at Washington and wish her all the best for her future which will always involve caring for the planet.

Kate Sherman @ Ocean Conservancy.
Photo by Alvin Wong.

How Google DOCS help in planning ICCS

Organising the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) requires a strong admin backbone. The core group of long-term volunteers who have taken up roles as Zone Captains have been using Google Docs collaboratively in an increasing fashion since 2006. Then the GDocs predecessor Writely was used for the end of exercise review.

With improvements over the years, the use for ICCS has extended to maps, workbooks and forms and presentations – Zone Captains have access to the shared minutes and reviews as well as form data and collectively update workbooks and Maps to allocate sites to registrants and provide updates for Organisers.

Online registration is provided by Google Form for Organisers and Individuals. It is also used for workshop and briefing registrations.

Data from registration requests is collected automatically in one sheet of a workbook. In another sheet, Site Allocation is indicated by Zone Captains. This second, public sheet is refreshed within minutes of an update, so always reflects the current status. This way Organisers can check on their allocation status:

Recce reports are posted on GDocs and a published as webpages like this one for Tanah Merah. These reports link to the of ICCS Zones and Sites which the Captains update as well. Greater detail will be aded to these maps in time for ICCS this year. URLs of specific views can be used when communicating details to Organisers and supporting agencies.

You may have noticed, all these sites are allocated customised domain names which is helpful when pointing out details during correspondence or in a conversation. While the Zone Captains struggle with the additional detail required of them these past few years, the preparatory load will gradually decrease and the details also help facilitate the year-round cleanups.

Recce for Changi and Tanah Merah on 22 May

22nd May, like another usual weekend days, was a busy day for the Eastern coastline of Singapore. The hustle and bustle of Changi Beach Carpark 1 welcomed Connie and me when we arrived. Apart from the tinkling bells of bicycles and boisterous talks from the beach-goers, the gay atmosphere was also filled with an exotic-sounding music from a Malay dance performance at one end of the beach, attracting crowds of curious onlookers. Connie and I, with the mission of recceing Changi and Tanah Merah, cycled around and only occasionally stopped to perambulate the seemingly clean shorelines and places inland to have a quick scan of the trash load and profile of Changi Beach. Here’re some trash we found.

 As expected, trash load at Changi Beach Park 1 & 2 (CP 1 to 5) is very low. Even for Changi Beach Park 3 & 4 (CP 6 & 7) where the trash load is higher, the type of trash is still fairly similar but in greater abundance. No daunting oil drums but just cigarette butts, broken Styrofoam pieces and plastic bottles.

                                      Trash at Changi Beach near Carpark 7

At Changi Beach Park 2, there was also some construction going on which is possibly to restore the shore.

From Changi Beach, we cycled to Tanah Merah to have a quick survey before the sun set. While Tanah Merah 1 & 2 are quite clean, Tanah Merah 5 and 6 are very filthy indeed. (See pic below) Unlike Chang Beach 1 & 2, these places don’t have frequent cleaning by contractors.

Filthy as they are, Tanah Merah still exudes beauty such that couples like the one in the picture below still come here and have their wedding pictures shot.

Also at Tanah Merah, we came upon the route which was used for Passion Run on that day and were suddenly inundated by runners in bright yellow.

This was just a snapshot of a day in a year of our Eastern coastline. With so many activities going on, it’s not difficult to imagine that a lot of trash is generated and being littered at the beach. While easy sites such as Changi Beach which do not yield magnificent results in terms of weight of trash or exotic trash as mangrove sites, they are important sites to us for the data we obtain tells us that the marine trash in Singapore is not mainly coming from our neighbouring countries but perhaps from within, much to the contrary of what many Singaporeans believe.