Punggol is a site full of surprises. There are development plans for Punggol and construction works have been conducted along the coast of Punggol beach for quite some time — we are faced with the uncertainty that they might cordon off a certain part of the beach to facilitate their construction during the cleanup. As a result, as with every other shoreline in Singapore, we are careful to check each site and last August, I went for a recce with Pei Hwa Secondary School’s Organiser.
On the morning of the ICC Singapore cleanup, the site had not changed much– the Police Coast Guard were still sipping their kopi and reading the newspaper when ICCS participants at this site, Secondary 1 students from Pei Hwa Secondary School, trudged in and began working under the sweltering hot sun.
The coast was actually rather clean and there was not a significant amount of trash. When I asked them what was the most peculiar item found, the participants were split between the oil drum and a shuttercock. Puzzled, I asked them “why shuttlecock?”A few of them responded ‘weird to play on the beach’, while one cleverly pointed out that it might be a recreational activity for the construction workers!
When asked about the cleanup, one participant Fatin, said “(I felt that) the litter which Singaporean left behind on the beach is quite saddening, as it may affect the marine animals and if it continues, there would not be any marine animals left in Singapore.”
It was heartening to see each and every one of the students putting in an effort for the cleanup. And if all of them grasped the issue as a result of their experience as Fatin did, the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore is certainly achieving much more than the collection of data for the marine debris index.
Cheong Wei Siong
Deputy Zone Captain,
ICCS Northeast Zone