18 Sep 2010 – Every year, the bulk of the cleanup volunteers participate through organised groups. Some individuals, however, hear about the cleanup and sign up independently – the coordinators call them “The Independents,” to reflect their determined spirit which sees them step forward to participate without prompting and they are all a joy to work with at all the sites they turn up at.
This year, about 30 Independents were allocated Sungei Ubin, where I act as Site Captain. This site requires volunteers to report to Pulau Ubin at 7.30am on a Saturday morning. With some volunteers staying in western Singapore and wet mornings for the past two days, I confess I was expecting some “no-shows.” However, everyone turned up – and the ones staying further were either on time or earlier than I was!
This sign of commitment was heartening for me to experience on an early Saturday morning!
With a quick briefing about procedure and safety, everyone started working and soon began pulling out the fishing nets which were deeply embedded in the mud or entangled around trees.
Barely half an hour into the cleanup, the Independents had accumulated a large load of fish/kelong nets, tires and metal meshes. This group of participants also did not falter at removing large items such as oil drums. Their spirit was wonderful to behold!
The Independents paid attention to details like cutting open tires to remove the sand inside. And the girls helped with moving the accumulated trash to the Trash Collection Point at the end of the cleanup, even though they were exhausted by then.
In just 90 minutes, 30 independents had cleared about 450kg of trash from the site. – a huge load for such a small group, reflecting the effort each one of them put in!
It was truly great working with this bunch of energetic participants and I was energised by the experience – well done, everyone and good job!
Site Captain, Sungei Ubin
ICCS Ubin West Zone