Pasir Ris revisited

09 Apr 2011 – We went to Pasir Ris again today to make for reaching the beach too late last week during the recce of the north-east coasts. This time, the tide was low (less than a metre) and the weather sunny and our memorable Site 6 was the most exposed we’d ever seen.

Ed: Sembawang tides were 0.6m (9am), 0.9m (10am), 1.3m (11am).

Pasir Ris Site 6 at low tide, 10am: 0.9m (S'wang)

Nothing much had changed since last year – there is still a high trash load scattered on the long stretch of beach. This site is ideal for motivated and hardworking groups and “Independents,” who sign up to quietly take action andwith no fanfare, always working hard. Chen Kee, who is very familiar with the heavy trashload there, will suggest groups bring wheel barrows this year. This will reduce the back-breaking effort of hauling the trash over the long distance back to the disposal site at the park.

Lots of trash and big barrels to be found

Closeup of the stream-ful of trash

The good news is that the tide on the third Saturday of September (the official ICC day) is just as low as today. If we start early enough, we should get some good work done.

Sungei Loyang

This was my first visit to this site! We treaded on dried seaweed (felt just like the stuff we eat) and pity we were bootie-less which would have made it easier to walk on the soft ground.

Dried up seaweed lined the ground

Stream at Sungei Loyang

We stopped at the stream which reminded me of the egg & seaweed soup that my aunt cooks. However, this stream was “cooked” with seaweed and trash instead! Veterans Woodlands Ring Sec School led by Jack Chong are already signed up to work this site. Hopefully they will make this “soupy” stream a little clearer!

With this second recce, we have completed our recce tours of the Northeast and gotten our engines well warmed up for ICCS work proper. Our next step will be to finalize the groups at each site and help them be as warmed up as we are!

Map showing the two Pasir Ris sites visited

Captains recce tour of the Northeast

I like this time of the year when the Northeast Zone coastal cleanup captains (Cheong Wei Siong, Lim Chen Kee and myself) recce our sites. Besides the serious assessment work, I personally enjoy the opportunity to see places in Singapore I don’t normally visit. Also, I get to catch up with my deputy zone captains, who are my good friends and partners in crime, with whom I have collaborated with for so many years.

From west to east, we covered the sites in our “vast” zone – the peaceful Sembawang, the hidden Selimang, the trash-laden Sungei Seletar and the ever-changing Punggol. And embarrassingly, for me, this is the first time I visited Sembawang and Selimang!

Tranquil Sembawang
My first impression of Sembawang was of its tranquility, despite the adjacent shipyard. We saw a father bring his son out to fish and a golden retriever that jumped happily into the water. The trashload here is light and this should be an easy site for first-timers.

Sembawang Beach (Notice the golden retriever in the background!)

Hidden Selimang
Next up – Selimang. We drove down the small Jalan Selimang road, passing by the quaint kampong-like mosque, the Masjid Petempatan Melayu Sembawang, to reach this site. This small site has a high density trashload, littered with broken glass. It looks suitable for older students and adults.


Trash-laden Sungei Seletar
Leaving Selimang, we visited our newest site at Sungei Seletar which was “rubbish galore”. We were shocked by Sungei Seletar 1 and I exclaimed, “Which part is the land and which part is the sea?”

S. Seletar 1 - Where is the land and sea divide?!

It was certainly hard to tell for all you see is trash, trash and more trash! I no longer think the phrase “rubbish galore” can accurately describe the site. It’s a “sinful seaful of trash”. Chen Kee and Wei Siong remarked that this was like Kranji when we first started there (side-note: this is very telling of how long they have been with ICCS!).

Well , the upside to such “horror scenes” is the motivational boost to find a tough, hardworking group to work at the site – yes, we getting warmed up for ICCS 2011!

S. Seletar 1 - A sea full of trash

Ever-changing Punggol
The last site we staggered to (after that scene) was Punggol – the face of Singapore’s developing landscape. Every year, we are welcomed by changes in its facade and actually take awhile to find the shore! The Park Connector Network is now a nice and easy walk and by the time of our cleanup in September, I suppose there will be new park facilities like toilets as well – it does look almost ready to open!


Punggol beach from the new Park Connector Network

And so it was a happy Saturday morning for me, touring the ICCS Northeast Zone. Join us there for a cleanup!

P/S: We cannot report on Pasir Ris sites, especially the trash-laden Site 6 yet. The tide beat us to it! Site 6 was submerged but visible in the distance were dots of trash. We will be back!

Ng Kai Scene
Northeast Zone Captain
International Coastal Cleanup Singapore