25 Sep 2010 – After two weeks, we returned to the Plastic Paradise today, with 21 enthusiastic individuals. The trashload was as high as we had thought it would be – plastics a.k.a. Public Enemy No. 1 was out in full force yet again prompting the phrase, “A Carnage of Plastic.”
Undeterred, we were motivated to fight the plastic threat with our will and might. After a mere 90 minutes, we collected, categorised and counted almost 3,000 items weighting 707.5 kg of trash. Of these 1,534 were plastic bags!
This amazing feat would not have been possible if not for the never-say-die spirit of our Independent Participants – these are individuals who signed up either independently or without much prompting of full-scale event organisation. A date, a time and a meeting place was all they needed. So much so they kept going even as I tried to call them off the shore after the requisite 90 minutes of the international coastal cleanup.
And this is what I’ve come to realize about coastal cleanups – people make all the difference. When you have 21 unconnected people who turn up at a remote beach on a Saturday afternoon just before the F1 race and unfazed by the earlier downpour, you know you can accomplish much!
An unconnected group, they all wanted to help – they were people who read our blog posts, saw our tweets or facebook statuses and included a father who with his wife and daughter volunteered as a family, and a lady who rallied some colleagues to the cause.
Thank goodness the weather cleared up before we started work, for it would have been a pity or this hardworking group not to tackle some marine trash!
Organising this revisit to Pasir Ris Beach 6, I was reassured by the presence of experienced fellow ICCS Otters, Andy, Kah Ming and Kelly. I could rest easy with data categorisation and the trash weighing operations were in their good hands. A special thanks to my pal, Meixuan, who put her engineering talents to great use as a very efficient data consolidator.
A passer-by ‘uncle’ asked us why we bothered – after all, we could not get the site clean. I think of the “Starfish Story” – sure, the next tide will bring more trash in. But each plastic bag we remove eliminates one more hazard to the marine environment. Every effort and everyone who came made a difference!
I wrote this as way to express a huge and heartfelt “Thank You!” to the 21 champions who battled the curse of marine trash today. May your spirits never waver! =)
Ng Kai Scene
ICCS North East Zone
Ed: Sembawang tides for this evening cleanup were 1.5m (4pm), 0.9m (5pm), 0.5m (6pm) and 0.7m (7pm).