“Plastics Killing Terengganu’s Turtles” – Bernama, 24 Jul 2011

“Plastics Killing Terengganu’s Turtles.” Bernama, 24 Jul 2011.

“KEMAMAN, July 24 (Bernama) — Pieces of plastic floating in the ocean often mistaken for food or jellyfish by turtles may be one of the reasons for their deaths.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Malaysia Terengganu Turtle and Terrapin Conservation Programme chief Rahayu Zulkifli said shards of plastic were found in the stomach of dead turtles in the state.

Thus, she urged the people, especially fishermen, to cooperate by not throwing plastics into the sea as they could kill turtles.

Speaking to Bernama at the launch of the WWF-Malaysia’s “Protect Our Turtles” campaign here today, she said WWF-Malaysia had taken various measures to increase the turtle population, including by buying turtle eggs for hatching with the assistance of the Fisheries Department.

Rahayu said leatherback turtle was considered a critically endangered species as only 10 nesting areas were found in the state since 2000 compared to 10,000 areas a year in the 50s.

The green turtle is also listed as threatened even though many nesting areas were discovered in Terengganu, she said.

About 400 people, including tourists, who attended the campaign signed a pledge to help protect turtles and will not eat their eggs.

The Terengganu Fisheries Department and the Kerteh District Heritage Society also took part in the campaign.”

Thanks to WildSingapore for the alert.

We recce Lim Chu Kang East mangrove with NUS student organisers

16th July 2011 – early Saturday morning we brought three NUS environmental engineering students, Vionna Luah, He Miao & Derek Ang for a visit to Lim Chu Kang East mangrove, a tough new site they will be bringing NUS staff and students to cleanup on Saturday, 17 Sep 2011.

N. Sivasothi (North West Zone Captain) led us on the recce accompanied by Yang Yi Yong (their ICCS Site Buddy) and myself (the Deputy Zone Captain for North West). Three visitors, Randy & Taylor Yerick and Jerome Lim joined us for the recce.

We first dropped in on Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove, the site of the upcoming pre-National Day cleanup on 6th August. The trash load is certainly high again and help is needed! It was enough for Siva to complain (and appeal) on the Raffles Museum Toddycats blog, “Argh! I can’t stand the trash on Lim Chu Kang beach!

Siva asked me to direct the van to the Lim Chu Kang East mangrove, driving home the point of being prepared before a recce – well, I did manage to get us to the entrance at Lim Chu Kang Lane 9. During the recce, Siva discussed the use iPhone app, Runkeeper (he has not started using GPS MotionX yet) to track our route and generate a recce map with locations and boundaries subsequently.

His map indicates the key points for cleanuop operations:

  1. There is space to drop off participants safely – the road is a dead-end here,
  2. safety briefing will be conducted at the Assembly Area, a 10 minute walk away from the site.
  3. Trash would be be weighed at weighing stations and later brought to the TCP.
  4. Trash bags at TCP will be transported by wheel burrow to the TDP.
  5. NEA will be informed to collection the trash at the TDP.

ICCS Lim Chu Kang East mangrove recce
Map of the Lim Chu Kang East mangrove site

Walking to the site from the Drop-off Point

It’s going to be a tough site to clear!

Construction debris that the renovation contractor
of the nearby Cashin’s house must have dumped into the river.

LCK east mangrove - Photo by Jerome Lim
The stream is not TOO deep actually – we tested the depth.
Photo by Jerome Lim.

The trash load along the coast is lighter than that of the stream.

We’ll take care not to leave too many footprints!

It’ll be nice to see the mangrove free of trash

The NUS organisers discussed the operations with us at Holland Village after the field trip – the very high trash load and the need for participants to be prepared for shin-deep mud means the recruitment and preparation of volunteers for this year’s cleanup will have be more informative about conditions. after many years at Krnaji mangrove, this is going to be a new and interesting challenge for them!


ICCS Workshop 2011 powerpoints

ICCS Workshop 2011 powerpoints – click to download individual sections or download the zipped file of the lot here (92.6 MB).

— beg —

00-Introduction – introducing ICC and ICC Singapore.

01-Marine life in Singapore – featuring a small selection of larger marine animals and locations around Singapore which the cleanup helps to protect.

02-The impact of marine debris – discussing entanglement, ingestion of plastic and plastic fragments.

03-How to organise a cleanup – An Organiser’s step by step guide. and includes “What happens on the cleanup day,” which can be extracted for the volunteer briefing along with the other sections.

04-Know your trash! – this addresses the categories of trash in the ICC Data Card, to prepare volunteers about the diversity of debris on the shore and how to categorise items.

05-Data Submission and Trash Quiz – data consolidation can be done n the spot and submission is expected within hours of completion of your cleanup.

06-Applications to daily life – the annual data urges us to become greener in our use and management of resources. Some pointers used in the discussion are listed here.

— end —

For videos, see the 2010 resources.

NUS will tackle Lim Chu Kang East mangrove, a tough new site!

This September, Organsations which used to work at Kranji Mangrove (adjacent to the Kranji Nature Trail managed by Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve), will be relocated as the site is undergoing works as part of the Sungei Buloh Master Plan. This is good news, for once complete, the Kranji site will provide a buffer to the main reserve:

Screen shot 2015-03-19 at PM 01.59.05

As North-West Zone Captain, it’s my job to open new sites – gradually, since each site requires recces to evaluate the safety, impact and operational details of running a cleanup at the site, and then later, orientation of volunteer Organisers and help in planning operations in the early years. This is necessary for mangrove sites as they present a difficult terrain, usually require a long haul to the Trash Disposal Point and often no support facilities are present.

I spent the last three years supervising operations at Pandan Mangrove in South Zone and Zone Captain Kelly Ong now runs a stable operation there. So that has freed me up to open new sites in the north-west.

ICCS2010 Recce North West - a set on Flickr

Well, last year I started making plans and Andy Dinesh (the Recce Captain) and I explored the north-west in July 2010.

ICCS North West Zone
Click for a larger image

The sites we identified are:

  1. Sarimbun Mangrove (Jalan Bahtera),
  2. Sarimbun Mangrove (Lim Chu Kang Road end),
  3. LCK East mangrove,
  4. Sungei Buloh West mangrove and
  5. Kranji East mangrove.

20-year veterans Singapore American High and Middle Schools anchor cleanup operations at Kranji East mangrove, a small area with an extremely high trash load. The SAS organisers were first brought there in March to get mentally prepared. They’ll be great but I’ll have a Site Captain there to help out. Working alongside them will be first-timers Transport Hub West.

Excelsior International School (now Nexus International School Singapore) joins NUS High School at Sungei Buloh West, which I referred to as a luxury site after the recce. It is a small site which needs to be worked on sensitively so these two groups will have a different kind of challenge. This is an area of Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve which few people reach and in fact they will be entering the reserve through the rear gates! It wi be a long haul to the trash disposal site.

During the ICCS Workshop, I spoke to the Environmental Engineering undergraduates who have been handed down the job of leading NUS’ ICCS main contingent since 2003. They were quietly confident, so I have entrusted them with the task of relieving Lim Chu Kang East mangroves of its load of marine debris.

We will conduct our first recce this Saturday and I look forward to helping them pull this off safely and effectively. It will be a great challenge for them but a unique opportunity to start up a site. And the new Deputy Zone Captain Jessica Ker is getting baptised in the experience alongside them!

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore_ Zones & Sites - Google Maps-2

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore: Zones & Sites - Google Maps

The site is about 80 metres away from Lim Chu Kang Lane 9.

An insult of plastic in the mangrove –
this stream is completely covered by marine debris.

The trash load on shore is much milder.

Sat 06 Aug 2011: Join us at the pre-National Day coastal cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang mangrove

Celebrate our National Day with a mangrove cleanup on Saturday, 6th August 2011! Sign up here!

The Mission:
Lim Chu Kang mangroves is a beautiful and unique patch of unprotected mangrove in Singapore, facing the Western Straits of Johor. It is adjacent to a Police Coast Guard base and offshore, kelongs and fish farms unload their produce at the jetty for delivery to markets in Singapore.

Scientists have worked in this mangrove for decades and though it is but a small patch that remains, it is scientifically interesting and holds many stories about animal and plant life and heritage in Singapore. In 2008, the Sungei Buloh Master Plan revealed it would link up with the Lim Chu Kang mangroves.

The famous mud lobster mounds of Lim Chu Kang mangrove

Trash from the Johor Straits is regularly deposited on Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove and since this is state land, and not used recreationally, the impact on marine life is battled through the efforts of various groups who take to the beach and mangrove in September for ICCS and other cleanups throughout the year.

The trash on Lim Chu Kang beach, 16 Jul 2011

The removal of trash is tackled sensitively through the actions of small groups. In just three cleanups last year, volunteers removed about 1.7 tonnes of trash from the site.

Annually, I organise a pre-National Day cleanup in celebration of Singapore’s birthday and invite Raffles Museum Toddycats, The Biodiversity Crew and anyone who might want to come – all you have to do is sign up here to be part of a happy bunch!

Pre-National Day Cleanup @ LCK, 07 Aug 2010
The 2010 cleanup cleared more than 800kg of trash

Itinerary (approximate):

  • 0730 – bus pick-up in NUS @ Science Drive 4
  • 0745 – bus pick-up outside Clementi next to the interchange at Commonwealth Ave W
  • 0830 – reach LCK, distribute into sub-groups, apply insect repellent, collect gloves and trash bags.
  • 0845 – Briefing, identification of Trash Loading Point (TLP) and bus shelter, wet weather plan (carry on unless lightning threat)
  • 0900 – cleanup begins.
  • 1000 – Loading teams start moving trash out to TLP
  • 1030 – clean-up ends, weigh trash and discussion; Q&A
  • 1045 – participants clean up – note: no washing point, so bring small amount of water to wipe down.
  • 1100 – Bus returns to Clementi, NUS – Note: help needed to wash gloves in NUS.

Pre-National Day mangrove cleanup: Site and Pickup Points - Google Maps
Click for map of pickup points

Pre-National Day mangrove cleanup_ Site and Pickup Points - Bus stop at Commonwealth Avenue West opposite block 317
The Commonwealth Avenue West pick up point, just after Clementi MRT


  1. Transport to site.
  2. Gloves.
  3. Trash bags.
  4. Weighing scales.

Be prepared!

  • Sleep early the night before and hydrate – this will affect your performance and enjoyment of the morning,
  • set your alarm to wake up on time – we can’t wait for latecomers (time and tide critical) and
  • have a decent breakfast – it will be a workout, last year 42 of us cleared >800kg of trash!

What you should bring:

  1. Covered shoes with hard soles – hard-soled booties are fine.
  2. Water bottle (at least one litre of water).
  3. Hat and/or sun block.
  4. Raincoat/ponco (we’ll carry on working in rain)
  5. Towel in a bag – to wipe off any sand and mud off you.
  6. Suggestion – dry fit clothes are suitable for this work. If you prefer cotton, a change of t-shirt will come in handy after a sweaty workout.
  7. Light pants will help protect your legs from insect bites (if you tend to get bitten!) as well as from the debris, but bermudas are fine.
  8. Water-proof your belongings.
  9. Some water to wipe yourself down with


Registered participants are to meet at

  1. NUS Science Drive 4 (7.30am: meet Siva) or
  2. the bus stop at Commonwealth Avenue West outside Clementi Interchange (7.45am).

Meet us at Lim Chu Kang Road end (click for map) where some parking space is available.

Pre-National Day Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang, Singapore (7th August 2010)
Happy National Day!

Recce of Ubin’s western beaches with Outward Bound Singapore

Outward Bound Singapore which occupies the western half of Pulau Ubin in north-western Singapore, has been providing “outdoor education and adventure learning programmes to help people realise their full potential” since 1967 (link). I am one of the quarter-million alumni as I did a five-day stint with them back in 1982.

Chua Li Shan, the Deputy Head of Outward Bound Youth/Programmes & Development contacted me on 10th June 2011, and we decided I’d profit from a visit of their beaches and a discussion. So I headed out to “sunny Pulau Ubin” on 21st June and visited their six beaches by boat along with another ICCS Otter, Jessica Ker.

Hiking Activity 20.02 km | RunKeeper

The OBS beaches:

  1. Kekek Beach (1.4191° North, 103.9545° East)
  2. Shopping Centre Beach (1.4238° North, 103.9448° East)
  3. Indiana Beach (1.4199° North, 103.9277° East)
  4. Hill 31 Beach (1.4181° North, 103.9297° East)
  5. Camp 2 Beach (1.4155° North, 103.9357° East)
  6. Machor Beach (1.4127° North, 103.9406° East)

Their trash load is generally low but requires regular work. Besides the beaches, we examined a few mangrove sites which could be adopted in a more mature phase of the programme in future., and we discussed sites in Pulau Ketam which has a high load.

Over the course of the recce, I was heartened to hear that Li Shan had already initiated mini-cleanups in the past couple of years with staff and students groups. Interested in both the year-round cleanups and the ICCS procedure, Li Shan had already examined the information on our webpage and had gone though the powerpoints as well. And I was able to chip in with suggestions about integrating environmental education in existing efforts – the coastal cleanup effort is already embedded as a component in their programmes so this makes implementation easier.

OBS staff are very much into raising environmental awareness and character building of the youth through their programmes. They also believe in small-scale implementation and growing projects with time. They already adopt a “leave no trace” component which they will enhance in future and obviously operational safety is excellent.

We share their outdoor education goals of character building, environmental awareness, sensitivity to surrounding, active citizenry so we are delighted to be working together and its easy to synergise.

Next up – they will try out a prototype programme this Saturday with a school group and I will head back to Pulau Ubin in August to conduct a workshop for OBS instructors.

I told Li Shan, this has been in the works a long time through the suggestions of Grace Lim, Robert Teo and Ria Tan. All of them have been encouraging various aspects of biodiversity awareness with OBS over the years and I’d visited OBS as a result for discussions and site visits. I’m glad its now time for us to chip in comprehensively to this worthy mission.

South-western Pulau Ubin
Tanjung Tajam, the western tip of Pulau Ubin