The ICCS Year-Round Cleanups at Tanah Merah East

Where are the Tanah Merah beaches?

Tanah Merah is the newest zone in the ICCS programme as it was added to Singapore’s shoreline relatively recently. This stretch is host to a bunch of Singapore’s non-recreational beaches which are not cleared of marine debris regularly, as they are not setup for public use as yet. As such, it is a good place to get an education about the load of marine debris which washes up on Singapore’s shores.

ICCS Google Map of Tanah Merah’s beaches, 1-10 sites

There is life on the shore!

WildSingapore’s Tanah Merah marine life poster

086iccs-tanah_merah-18sep2011[adinesh] | Flickr - Photo Sharing!In the eastern end of these beaches lie the most recently reclaimed beaches of Tanah Merah East, TM6-TM10. Though recent, marine life returning to the shore is subject to numerous stresses including a very high load of plastics and other debris as well as tar balls which persist and wash up from oil spills long forgotten.

These areas have been well recce’d by ICCS Recce Captain Andy Dinesh over the years, who also assists ICCS Zone Captains Xu Weiting and Cai Hongxia oversee the cleanup in September.

Trash from the Beach
114,709 trash items were removed from 4.6km of Tanah Merah’s beaches (1-10) last September. The top three trash items collected were:

  • Styrofoam pieces – 8,1465
  • Beverage bottles (plastic) 2 liters or less – 14,676
  • Bags (plastic) – 1,775

The ICCS Year-Round Cleanups at Tanah Merah East

In response to interest expressed by groups who tackled Tanah Merah East beaches (TM6-TM10) during the last international coastal cleanup in September, ICCS intends to initiate a programme of year-round cleanups at Tanah Merah East in order to grapple with the magnitude of trash on that shore.

These cleanups, separate from our data-driven September cleanup, will be either managed directly or in support of an Organiser of a corporate group or institution interested in contributing to this effort.

To initiate this programme, we are recruiting motivated individuals from amongst ICCS Organisers and Site Buddies, National Volunteer and Philantrophy Centre’s ICCS Site Buddies and Green Champions as well as ICCS alumni and members of the public.

From this pool, we hope to have enough volunteer Site Buddies who can manage cleanups at Tanah Merah at least four times a year. Once this mechanism is set up, the ICCS Year-Round Cleanups at Tanah Merah East will be integrated into the National Volunteer Oil Spill Action Plan which we are developing, in order to prepare volunteers to better respond in a crisis on our shores.

To kick off the programme, we are meeting interested individuals in January 2012:

Recruitment Briefing
Wed 04 Jan 2012: 7.00pm

Conducted by N. Sivasothi (Coordinator, ICCS)
National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre @ Central
[map]If you are keen to participate and can commit to managing
at least four cleanups a year, sign up at:

Tanah Merah East (Beaches 6-10): data and photos from ICCS2011

On 17 September 2011, a total of 411 volunteers from nine organisations collected, categorised and counted 25,980 items weighing 3,607 kg along 1,300 metres of shoreline. This was disposed of in a total of 752 trash bags and carted away by NEA contractors, destined for incineration and disposal.

Below are some photos to give you an impression of the site.

Tanah Merah 6 – link

  • Weatherford Asia Pacific Pte Ltd – link
  • Ministry of Education – link

Tanah Merah 7 – link

  • SUVEC – link
  • National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre – link
  • ITE College East – link
  • Independents – link
Tanah Merah 8 & 9 (18 Sep 2011)

  • Australia & New Zealand Association Action,
    AECOM & National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre – link

Tanah Merah 10 (18 Sep 2011)

  • Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources – link
Photos from Tanah Merah

Trash-filled shores!

More trash, covered in oil!

Coastal cleanup may be back-breaking work, but it is satisfying!

Trash bags from Tanah Merah 8 & 9

More photos from ICCS 2011 be found here:

Tanmaya Kabra, SEVEN years in ICC Singapore and on to the US next!

I have met many Singapore American School students over the years and have always appreciated their participation in the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore as they are hard workers on our shores. After two decades, that’s something like 3,000 American students who have pitched in for the marine environment here. They would have gone on to make a difference in the environment wherever they are in varying degrees as they moved on to colleges in the US and then on to careers and life.

Both the Middle and High Schools of the Singapore American School participate so there are some students who have had a long record of participation. Thus it was with great pleasure that I met a student veteran of SEVEN years!

Tanmaya Kabra accompanied veteran-teacher Martha Began to received the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium Award for the SAS High School’s for 20 years of dedicated service under the enthusiastic supervision of Martha, Steve Early and others. The Middle School which has been led by ICCS founder Kate Thome too received the Symposium Award, which is an acknowledgement by the community to exemplary effort.

SAS 7th Year ICCS

This is Tanmaya’s last year in ICCS as he heads off to college but he has told me he will be seeking out the ICC there in the US where it originated. There are programmes in all the states, although getting to a cleanup site could involve a bit more traveling to get there!

Tanmaya has been blogging at Green Notings and made posts about the SAS’ 20th year at ICCS and the receiving the Symposium Award.

Besides being a pioneer in the ICCS, SAS has provided an opportunity for continuity for participation in the programme as highlighted by Tanmaya.

This sort of involvement of experienced students in ICCS to help mentor and supervise others is something we have always encouraged as involving students in planning and execution better prepares them for independent environmental protection effort. And it provides support for overburdened teachers!

In the years ahead, I think we should look into surveying how widely this has been done and actively encourage this.

Well done Tanmaya, and I’ll look forward to your report from the US next year!