Meeting the volunteers for the Tanah Merah Year-Round coastal cleanups

In mid-November Jocelyne Sze (ICCS Manpower) and myself met up with Mary-Ann Khoo, the NVPC officer with sparkling eyes and brimming idealism. As we debriefed September’s ICCS, we decided to tackle the idea of a year-round cleanup at Tanah Merah – with fresh blood.

The next day, this advertisement above was posted on this blog and carried by various personal Facebook pages and blogs including the very important portal by Ria Tan, WildSingapore. We called for hopeful hearts to join the effort to protect the marine environment.

Yesterday I realised with some alarm that all of December had gone by. I had not fussed over the people who signed up but sent them a single reminder of the meeting. Surely, I felt, some would have forgotten about all this by now. However, eleven came and one sent apologies.

ICCS briefing
Sivasothi explaining rational and operational procedure.
Photo by Andy Dinesh

The ICCS team who went down to meet people who want to make a difference this evening were Andy Dinesh (ICCS Recce Captain), Xu Weiting (ICCS Tanah Merah Zone Captain), Cai Hongxia (ICCS Tanah Merah Zone Captain), Jocelyn Sze (ICCS Manpower), Mary-Ann Khoo (NVPC), Ng Kai Scene (ICCS North-East Zone Captain) and myself, N. Sivasothi (ICCS Coordinator). It was very encouraging for us to meet all eleven of them!

  1. Seow Ziqiang
  2. Au Yeong Kin Choong – absent with apologies, but ready for action
  3. Gladys Chua
  4. Lam Chee On
  5. Benjamin Tan
  6. Ching Yu Hang
  7. Wu Xinping Jennifer
  8. Anore Alfredo Nofuente
  9. Florence Loh
  10. Zhu Wen Wen
  11. Roy Eric Rivera
  12. Ong Sze Sze

How did they find us? Through SG Cares, WildSingapore, a friend, facebook etc!

The whys and hows was tackled during the one hour briefing, it was time to agree on our first trial cleanup! We all agreed it had to be after Chinese New Year for sure. A check of the tide-table on Mobilegeographics revealed that the tides on Sat 11 Feb 2012 were 0.91 m (7:11 AM SGT) and 3.50 m (1:54 PM SGT). That meant a workable shore around 8am – 10am.

However, Dinesh will examine the shoreline in early February and report back. Current movements and the monsoon might actually redistribute the Tanah Merah trash elsewhere during this period. If the shore is clear, we’ll move to Pasir Ris Site 6 instead.

With the date set, the volunteers will be assembled into three teams to organise their first cleanup and perhaps invite friends along. They can tap the ICCS store at NUS for trash bags, weighing scales and gloves. The exercise will help everyone understand an Organiser’s role – for in future they will be coordinating with and advising Organisers in running year-round cleanups at that site.

So we will next meet on 11th February 2012: 8am at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal; we are looking forward to observing the team in action and working with them!