In preparation for the very first year round cleanup at Tanah Merah on the 11 Feb 2012, Benjamin Tan and Ching Yu Hang, both volunteer Site Buddies from the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre together with ICCS Tanah Merah Zone Captain, Xu Weiting and ICCS Recce Captain, Andy Dinesh headed out to TM7 on the 29th Jan, Sun to have a look at the trash load that we will be cleaning up in two weeks’ time.
We were greeted by a relatively clean shoreline this time round. However, this depends on the currents and winds which might sometimes cause the trash to be accumulated in usually large amounts. Hence, in order to be prepared, a recce trip is highly essential for any planning of a shore cleanup.
Besides looking at the trash load, we also saw inhabitants of the beach. This gave me a timely reminder of the motivation behind cleanups held more regularly rather than only during the International Coastal Cleanup in September. Every cleanup effort is important in helping to remove the marine litter that has adverse impacts on marine organisms and habitats.
However, as we proceeded along the long stretch of sandy shore, the clean image of Tanah Merah starting to vanish. Instead, we started to notice more trash stranded on the upper shores and along the vegetation edge. We definitely have work to do during the upcoming cleanup.
Another important aspect about beach cleanups is safety. We encountered a single syringe on the TM7 shore and every year, we do get about 30 – 150 syringes per cleanup. In 2011, Singapore American School (SAS) found 33 syringes at their mangrove sites and this incident once again highlighted the importance of adhering to safety guidelines for every single cleanup, no matter how big or small.
Below is another photo of the amount of trash (plastics, styrofoams and much more) awaiting for us to clear on the 11th Feb, Saturday. If you need more details of the cleanup, Site Buddy Gladys Chua has put out a blog post for any interested people.
With the start of the brand new year, let us not sit around and hope for the trash to vanish. Let’s take some action and do something about the marine litter found on our shores.