Some 100 volunteers and members of the public roused themselves on a wet, wet morning of a public holiday to attend the talk on “Marine Life in Singapore and the Impact of Man,” by N. Sivasothi a.k.a. Otterman.
The annual lecture is conducted by the coordinator of the ICCS for volunteers attending the coastal cleanup around Singapore and this year was extended to members of the public.
It was a public holiday for Singapore citizens to vote for the president of the country – we could not shift the date though, because every Saturday until the coastal cleanup was busy. On the advise of friends who have been polling agents, it as decided going head with the briefing in the morning was a good option as polling booth queue taper off by late afternoon and are absent by evening.
Excitement aside, with the energy in the LT was sleepy and Siva started slow and easy as he dealt with the changes to Singapore’s natural landscape over the years, and the amount of natural habitats we have lost. That was merely preamble to the question, “Is there anything left?”
The audience then perked up at the animated stories, photos and videos that Siva shared of marine life in Singapore – baby turtles, dugong dissection, leaping dolphins, crocodiles, iconic mudskippers and wrestling monitor lizards.
The audience is listening
The story behind the monumental few seconds appearance of our humble mangroves on David Attenborough’s Life in Cold Blood, adorable otters and the threat to prehistoric horseshoe crabs also piqued the crowd’s interest and excitement.
Ahem, yes, it was tough for some to get up early on a rainy, Saturday public holiday!
Siva guzzled some coffee brought to him during the ten-minute break to warm himself up and then introduced the ICCS Oters who had come (most had been encouraged to take the day off)”
- Andy Dinesh (Recce Captain),
- Xu Weiting (East Coast/Tanah Merah Zone Captain),
- Airani S (Data Captain),
- Marcus Tay (Changi Zone Captain) and
- myself, Jocelyne Sze (Volunteer Manager).
He then addressed the threats faced by our marine environment from freshwater flood incidents, oil spills, pollution and most pertinently, marine trash. The history and motivation behind the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore featured a quarter-century old photo and led to the critical section for eager volunteers, “What happens on the actual day?” Siva had stepped up his pace and the crowd was hyped up now!
After the emphasis on marine trash, the important discussion about what individuals can do to help ended off on a very inspired note! All this ended minutes before the promised 11.00am so people could go for lunch and go vote! (:
Andy Dinesh took a video of the entire talk, and here it is!
Meeting old and new friends is always a delightful part of ICCS and Martha Began of Singapore American School which is a 20-year veterans, came with a bunch of her students and members of their SAVE club.
As the Volunteer Manager, I was busy attending to a few independents, site buddies and even new organiser Bhavani Prakash who is stepping up to coordinate a cleanup for her friends, who is away doing the same in Bali this year.
While we were busy chatting, a bit of photo-taking went on as most of us would be working in different sites on the day of the cleanup. We were in good company that day and some students from Tanglin Trust School will be taking a step further and joining Raffles Museum Toddycats to talk about their plans for biodiversity exhibitions next week.
The ICCS volunteers and members of the public certainly left left with a better awareness of the marine life we have and the motivation, issues, urgency and details for a safe, efficient and green cleanup on the 17th of September 2011. See you at the beach soon everyone!