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!
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.
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?”
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!
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!
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