Learning outdoors survival skills @ ICCS Briefing?

“What should you do when you encounter a crocodile?” the national coordinator of the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore, N. Sivasothi, asked.

Has the ICCS Briefing turned into a course in outdoors survival skills?!! Nope, this was just one of the jokes Siva told which generated much laughter (and the answer he gave, by the way, was “You only need to run faster than one person!”)

As you can see, the ICCS Briefing was an informal learning session for the more than 200 participants who turned up on a Saturday morning at 9am at NUS’ LT25.

I thought arriving before 8.30am was early, only to find Siva already in full concentration, checking out the presentation slides. Fellow ICCS Otter and Deputy Zone Captain for North East Zone, Lim Chen Kee, was also around providing his two cents worth.  I guess they were as eager to start ICCS Briefing session as I was!

The turnout was of the responsible individuals from some of the 60 organisations who had signed up wit the programme this year. These individuals, or Site Buddies, would absorb the big picture and help their organisers to run the cleanup operation and motivate fellow participants. The second ‘group’ were highly-motivated individuals who had signed up independently to participate in a cleanup. Either way, they were willing to spend a Saturday morning in NUS with us and we wanted them well briefed and all revved up for the job ahead of all of us!

Attentive participants

Over two and a half hours, participants learnt about the diversity and surprises of our marine environment, the threats to local and international maine ecosystems, the logistics and methods behind a cleanup, etc. The engaging topic of “Is there marine life in Singapore?” reassured and amazed many that there are still dolphins, dugongs, otters turtles and many other wonderful creatures in Singapore waters. The video clip of cute baby turtles being released from East Coast did a great job as usual, drawing a series of “Ooohs” and “Awws” from the audience.

It wasn’t all talk! Like the other ICCS Otters, I had a chat before and after the session with various people who turned up from a variety of sites – this was certainly very useful. I had the opportunity to talk to 5 of the individuals who signed-up with the Independent Team in Pasir Ris Site 6. I could check if email we sent out.

Separately, Wei Siong and I also made arrangements with Pei Hwa for a Punggol recce the next morning.

Having a great chat with the individual participants!

And, for me, the sheer pleasure to meet fellow participants, put faces to names, say hi and exchange a few words before the actual event makes this briefing session extra meaningful! So, here’s a big thank you to everyone who turned up!

The ICCS Briefing today @ NUS LT25

More than 200 Site Buddies and Independents turned up for the ICCS briefing. this Saturday morning. After the lecture series, the Indepenedents talked to their Site Captains.

ICCS Otters in attendance today – Ng Kai Scene, Cheong Wei Siong, Lim Chen Kee, Marcus Tay, Teo Kah Ming, Kok Oi Yee, Connie Hon, Kelly Ong, Zhang Dongrong, Andy Dinesh, Kenneth Pinto, Airani S., Linda Tan, Kevin Lim & N. Sivasothi.

Kenneth Pinto took a bunch of photos and it’s been uploaded to a Flickr set here.

ICCS Briefing, 28 Aug 2010 @ NUS LT25 - a set on Flickr

Sat 28 Aug 2010: 9am – ICCS Briefing for Site Buddies & Independent Volunteers

This September, a record number of over 4,000 volunteers from more than 60 organisations will take to the shores of Singapore in September to collect, count and categorise trash as part of the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore.

Site Buddies will play a critical role in directing, motivating and working alongside the volunteers. By assisting Organisers to run their cleanups. Along side these motivated individuals are Independent Participants who are motivated individuals who sign up to join a cleanup and will go where they are needed cheerfully.

In order to help Site Buddies and Independent Volunteers prepare for the ICCS2010 cleanup, we are conducting a briefing at NUS and invite you to join us.

Site Buddies Briefing Session
Saturday 28 August September: 9am – 12pm.
Lecture Theatre 25, National University of Singapore
See Map/take SBS Bus 95 from Buona Vista MRT.

Registration – please REGISTER here (1 Person can register for a group).

Who is this briefing session for?
This workshop is for individuals who are assisting organisers in briefing, leading and working alongside other volunteers on the cleanup day. If you would like to know more about the background, reasons and motivation of and for the ICCS and would like to meet other Site Buddies, do attend the briefing. Independent volunteers who have signed up to join the ICCS and who are not associated with any organisations are invited to join us at this briefing as well.

skitched-20080825-093601.jpgWho is conducting this briefing
The briefing will be conducted by the national coordinator, N. Sivasothi with the help of the ICCS Otters. We have more than a decade of practical experience coordinating, organising and communicating the cleanups as well as sweating it out on the shores alongside volunteers every year! So we are eager to share with you useful tips that will make the cleanup smoother operationally and even more meaningful.


  1. Welcome, introduction and updates
  2. Role of maine life and impact of marine debris
  3. What typically happens on the cleanup day and our role.
  4. Data collation and submission: good practises.
  5. How to make photo, blog and twitter submissions.

To register for the briefing session, please click here.

Lim Chu Kang Cleanup – The Pretty (Miss Earths), The Ugly (Trash) and The Hard Work

We celebrated National Day early with a cleanup with Miss Earth Singapore 2010 contestants and other volunteers from Republic Polytechnic and NUS. The morning began ominously with gloomy weather and rain clouds and distant thunder calls hinted of an impending thunderstorm. Thankfully, the worst we hit by was a mild drizzle which meant a comfortable cool weather to work in. And I was real happy to be spared mozzie attacks for once!

Cleanup site from afar

We boarded the bus between 7.30am – 8.00am from NUS and Clementi. I felt a little worried for the Miss Earth Singapore 2010 contestants when I first saw them decked out in white tees and shorts. Were they going to be swamped by the mud, swarmed by mozzies and drenched by the rain?!Well, it turned out that I was worrying for nothing – they showed it was possible to look fantabulous in front of the cam and clean the coast at the same time!

Miss Earth Singapore 2010 Contestants

After a short briefing at Lim Chu Kang Road end site, everyone eagerly started work armed with their trash bags and gloves on the beach. This was my first time at the Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove and despite a few years of action by teams for the ICCS , the trash load was surprisingly high. So we really sweated it out.

Besides the usual plethora of plastic bags and bottles, we also found helmets, a television, chairs, cushions, big barrels, nets, umbrellas… even cooking oil, unripe bananas and rotting kueh – gosh, that stank! It was as if there was a “trash-made” kampung right there!

The NUS biology experts and alumni treated us to an on-the-spot flora and fauna lesson. The crab-eating snake and live horseshoe crab grabbed the limelight, didn’t they? And from a female volunteer’s perspective, I’d like to present my compliments to the Miss Earth Singapore 2010 contestants and the reigning Miss Earth 2009 for adding colour, variety and chatter to a morning of hard work!

And it was DEFINITELY a lot of hard work done, for we removed a total of 811.3kg of trash in more than 10 trash bags! Over 800kg of harmful trash eliminated from our precious shores, yeah!

Evidence of our hard work!

More than 800kg of trash from the pre-National Day cleanup at Lim Chu Kang

07 Aug 2010 – A group of 42 volunteers from Ms Earth Singapore, Republic Polytechnic and NUS (Raffles Museum Toddycats & The Biodiversity Crew) and friends spent the morning at Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove ridding the shore of plastic trash stranded there.

This special celebratory pre-National Day cleanup has been conducted by the ICCS team with Ms Earth Singapore contestants for the 3rd year running.


The rain which stormed over other parts of Singapore, spared us and after 90 minutes, we had cleared 811.3kg of trash from the beach and mangrove into some 116 trash bags with 20 bulky items removed, phew!

Thanks to NEA for picking up the trash from the pre-arranged Trash Disposal Point and sending it for disposal in the afternoon.

Chain gang at end of the beach cleanup

Blog posts and photos albums

  • “Lim Chu Kang Cleanup – The Pretty (Miss Earths), The Ugly (Trash) and The Hard Work,” by Ng Kai Scene. News from the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore, 07 Aug 2010 – link.
  • Photo album by Andy Dinesh – link (flickr).
  • Photos by Yukari Niino – link (facebook)
  • Photos by Kevin Lim- link (flickr).


  • 2008 photos by Airani S – link
  • 2009 photos by Kenneth Pinto – link

Sat 07 Aug 2010: The pre-National Day coastal cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang mangrove

Celebrate our National Day with a mangrove cleanup on Saturday 7th August 2010!

The Mission:
Lim Chu Kang mangroves is a beautiful and unique patch of unprotected mangrove in Singapore, facing the Western Straits of Johor. It is adjacent to a Police Coast Guard base and offshore, kelongs and fish farms unload their produce at the jetty to send to markets in Singapore. Scientists have worked in this mangrove for decades and though it is but a small patch that remains, it is scientifically interesting and holds many stories about animal and plant life and heritage in Singapore.

The famous mud lobster mounds of Lim Chu Kang mangrove

The 2008 cleanup.

Trash is regularly deposited on Lim Chu Kang mangrove from the straits so various groups tackle this sensitively in small groups during regular coastal cleanups. The ICCS team is organising this pre-National Day cleanup and inviting Raffles Museum Toddycats, The Biodiversity Crew and Ms Earth Singapore participants; you can sign up here: http://tinyurl.com/lck-07aug2010reg.

Pre-National Day mangrove cleanup: Site and Pickup Points - Google Maps
Click for active map

Itinerary (approximate):

  • 0730 – bus pick-up in NUS @ Science Drive 1
  • 0745 – bus pick-up at Clementi next to the interchange at Commonwealth Ave W
  • 0830 – reach LCK, distribute into sub-groups, apply insect repellent, collect gloves and trash bags.
  • 0845 – Briefing, identification of Trash Loading Point (TLP) and bus shelter, wet weather plan (carry on unless lightning threat)
  • 0900 – cleanup begins.
  • 1000 – Loading teams start moving trash out to TLP
  • 1030 – clean-up ends, weigh trash and discussion; Q&A
  • 1045 – participants clean up – note: no washing point, so bring small amount of water to wipe down.
  • 1100 – Bus returns to Clementi, NUS – Note: help needed to wash gloves in NUS.


  1. Transport to site.
  2. Gloves.
  3. Trash bags.
  4. Weighing scales.

Be prepared!

  • Sleep early the night before and hydrate,
  • set your alarm to wake up on time and
  • have a decent breakfast!

What you should bring:

  1. Covered shoes with hard soles.
  2. Water bottle (at least one litre of water).
  3. Hat and/or sun block.
  4. Raincoat/ponco (we’ll carry on working in rain)
  5. Towel in a bag – to wipe off any sand and mud off you.
  6. Suggestion – dry fit clothes are suitable for this work. If you prefer cotton, a change of t-shirt will come in handy after a sweaty workout.
  7. Light pants will help protect your legs from insect bites (if you tend to get bitten!) as well as from the debris, but bermudas are fine.


Registered participants are to meet us at either

  1. the NUS bus stop outside Science Drive 1 (7.30am; meet Siva) or
  2. the bus stop AFTER Clementi MRT Station heading west (7.45am; meet Lim Cheng Puay).

Meet us at Lim Chu Kang Road end (click for map) where some parking space is available.

Links to resources for Organisers, 2010

The resources we distributed at the Organiser’s Workshop in July are listed here for convenience:

  • Powerpoints, Organiser’s Guidelines and ICCS2010 report (88.2mb) – link
  • Short videos (56.7mb) – link
  • Long video – the ICC 2009 video (130.5mb) – link
2010 ICCS Resources for web