Celebrate World Ocean Day with us @ Pasir Ris Site 6

In celebration of World Ocean Day, we are organizing a cleanup at our “hidden beach paradise”, Pasir Ris Site 6 on Sat 9th June 2012 from 8.30am.  Being a non-recreational beach, this beach is not cleared of marine debris regularly. The Northeast Zone folks will be out in full force to lead a team of volunteers to tackle the plastic strewn all over streams at the site.

Pasir Ris Beach 6

EVENT DETAILS
Cleanup @ Pasir Ris Park 6 Sat 9 Jun 2012: 8.30am-11.30am

Volunteers please sign-up at http://tinyurl.com/yrcc-pr6-2012!
We meet you at Pasir Ris Park BBQ Pit No. 64

Note:  It takes around 10 minutes to walk from the nearest carpark (Carpark E) / bus stop to the site. 

Click on Map for an Enlargement.

Join us at the “Conserving our Biodiversity Symposium”, Festival of Biodiversity (26-27 May 2012)

Find out more about all the events at the first Festival of Biodiversity in Singapore at the Singapore Botanic Gardens (Tanglin Gate), 26-27 May 2012 at festivalofbiodiversitysingapore.wordpress.com!

Where is biodiversity in Singapore?

Surely not in these Singapore dollar notes which ICCS Otters Yi Yong and Kah Ming are examining so intently?

ICCS Otters looking at dollar notes

These coastal cleanup volunteers are at a training session for Raffles Museum Toddycats, the parent organisation of the ICCS Otters. Volunteers have been busy preparing for the Festival of Biodiversity to be held at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 26-27 May 2012; see updates at festivalofbiodiversitysingapore.wordpress.com.

The Festival promises to be the biggest celebration of Singapore’s biodiversity in the calendar and has a wonderful array of activities lined up. We are motivated to help the public find out just where biodiversity is in Singapore and what it looks like.

The festival is organised by NParks and the natural history community who have come together formally (for once) to engage over issues as the Biodiversity Roundtable of Singapore. This first event we are collaborating on is part of worldwide celebrations of the International Day of Biodiversity.

The international theme this year is Marine Biodiversity, something we are primarily engaged with. And the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore team will be contributing to the the Festival in various ways, at one of the talks, as part of a new Marine Exhibition to be unveiled at the Festival and at the Toddycats exhbition booth on the second floor at Singapore Botanic Gardens (Tanglin Gate). The Toddycats exhibition will have the company on the balcony of several groups including ACRES, Wildlife Reserves Singapore and Cicada Tree-Eco Place.

So come down and enjoy the talks, walks, exhibitions, artwork, games and of course interact and catch up with the community – we will be there!

Meanwhile, we have been hard at work preparing for the festival. After this volunteer training at NUS Lab 7 tonight, we’re down to shifting specimens over before it’s showtime!

ICCS otters at Toddycats Training

About the dollar note inspection? Well the portrait series of Singapore dollar notes which carry the face of our first president Encik Yusof bin Ishak are also imprinted with a different species of cowry each – right up to the $1,000 note. We’ll settle for just showing the $2 notes though!

Thanks to Xu Weiting for the photos!

Floatsam at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve (letter to ST Forum)

Litter turns wetland reserve into an eyesore
The Straits Times Forum 11 May 2012

“I VISITED Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on Sunday morning with my family. I had not been there for four years and was looking forward to enjoying the flora and fauna of this nature reserve.

While I was not disappointed in terms of the service (the woman at the visitor centre was friendly and helpful), I was quite aghast to see the amount of trash floating on the water – plastic bottles, styrofoam boxes and even a beach ball, which were really an eyesore.

A few times we thought we spotted some creatures in the water, but they turned out to be litter. I distinctly remember that on my last visit a few years ago, there was hardly any litter.”

Cindy Tan (Ms)

How NParks deals with flotsam at wetland reserve
The Straits Times Forum 15 May 2012

“WE THANK Ms Cindy Tan for her compliments about our service staff and her feedback (‘Litter turns wetland reserve into an eyesore’; last Friday). The litter Ms Tan saw in the waters surrounding Sungei Buloh was flotsam that gets carried into Sungei Buloh by the tides.

To keep flotsam away from Sungei Buloh, we have installed a boom at the mangrove boardwalk. Our contractor carries out daily cleaning. To supplement this, a number of corporations and schools have partnered us to carry out regular clean-ups of the coastal area.

The litter could have come from anywhere in the Straits of Johor. One source could be the drains and waterways around Sungei Buloh. To reduce the pollution from this source, we appeal to the public not to litter.”

Wong Tuan Wah
Director, Conservation
National Parks Board

Thanks to WildSingapore.

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore 2012 – Public registration for Organisations now open!

Dear organisers,

Registration for ICCS 2012 has now opened!

First: Check Site Availability, Difficulty and Location

  1. Check the availability of sites at: http://iccs-status.rafflesmuseum.net
  2. A difficulty level estimate is provided for guidance. You can examine the assessment details here: http://iccs-sites.rafflesmuseum.net
  3. The location of the sites on Google Maps is provided here: http://iccs-map.rafflesmuseum.net

Second: Registration by Organisers
Organisers may register at this page: http://iccs-registration.rafflesmuseum.net/
You will be allocated a site and the relevant Zone Captain will inform you by mid-June.

ICCS2012 Calendar

The dates in the ICCS 2012 calendar are as follows:

  • Sat 07 Jul 2012 – ICCS Workshop for Organisers: 8am-12pm
  • Sat 25 Aug 2012 – ICCS Lecture (& Briefing for Site Buddies): 10am-12pm
  • Sat 15 Sep 2012 – International Coastal Cleanup Singapore: 8am-12pm

Volunteer Recruitment
Volunteer Site Buddies – we are looking for people who can assist operations on the ground as capable Site Buddies at various sites. This would involve the following dates (8am-12pm):

  • Sat 09 Jun 2012: World Oceans Day cleanup
  • Sat 07 Jul 2012: Site Buddies Workshop
  • Sat 04 Aug 2012: National Day cleanup
  • Sat 15 Sep 2012: ICCS

If you are willing and able, please sign up here: http://iccs-volunteer.rafflesmuseum.net

Independents sign-up in July.
For individuals who intend to participate on the event day in September only, we will announce the the sign up in July.

Otherwise, do check our twitter, blog or facebook pages.

Thank you for caring for the environment!

Cheerio!

Sivasothi


N. Sivasothi
Coordinator, International Coastal Cleanup Singapore
e: iccs@rafflesmuseum.net
w: http://coastalcleanup.nus.edu.sg/
b: https://coastalcleanup.wordpress.com/
f: http://fb.com/iccsg/
t: https://twitter.com/coastalcleanup/

The Earth Day Coastal Clean-up 2012: 106 clear 400kg but not in thunder, lightning or in rain!

On the 28th of April 2012, 106 volunteers headed down to Tanah Merah site 7 for the Earth Day coastal clean-up!

Pre-session group photo! | Photo credit: Benjamin Tan

Attendees include volunteer bodies from corporate groups, such as Gammon Construction Limited, SGCares, Standard Chartered, Starbucks, students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and independent sign-ups from the general public!

We’re really grateful for the relatively huge turnout! T’was really heartening.

Heading towards the halfway mark before dispatching to either ends of the beach | Photo credit: Benjamin Tan

Yiyong takes the session very, very seriously. | Photo credit: Xu Weiting

Yiyong reminds all volunteers to rehydrate during the session!

Volunteers manoeuvring through the vegetation along the higher strandline | Photo credit: Jocelyne Sze

Splitting up to look for trash | Photo credit: Benjamin Tan

Working together to remove bulky items | Photo credit: Benjamin Tan

Family bonding session! | Photo credit: Benjamin Tan

Determined to get some work done even as the rain clouds approached! | Photo credit: Jocelyne Sze

The weather wasn’t cooperating, unfortunately. Shortly after we’ve briefed the masses, dark clouds gathered, and the overcast sky loomed in the distance.

The impending rain wasn’t a concern for most; After all, we were dealing with groups of highly-motivated individuals. However, we do place our participants’ safety as the utmost priority.

Zone captain, Benjamin Tan, calling out to volunteers to head towards TMFT, in view of inclement weather

According to National Environment Agency (NEA),

Singapore has one of the highest rate of lightning activity in the world. Lying near the Equator, the weather is hot and humid almost all year round. Conditions are favourable for the development of lightning producing thunderstorm clouds. via

In fact, April and May are a few of the most lightning-prone months because of the intense inter-monsoon weather conditions.

Still unconvinced? Read: Lighting: the scariest encounter on the shore by Ria Tan (Founder of WildSingapore)

Minutes before it rained | Photo credit: Jocelyne Sze

The sky clears just as we called off the activity. | Photo credit: Jocelyne Sze

Zone captain, Benjamin, debriefs the masses | Photo credit: Jocelyne Sze

WHY ENGAGE IN YEAR-ROUND COASTAL CLEAN-UP EFFORTS?

To cater to interested groups of people who would like to be a part of this coastal clean-up initiative, but are unable to attend the annual ICCS in the month of September.

To raise the consumer awareness on the impact of litter in the marine environment, and clear marine litter (mostly recreational trash – e.g. plastic bottles/bags/wrappings/straws, styrofoam chunks etc.) which will otherwise remain circulating in the ecosystem, implicating wildlife (and eventually our lives).

To witness our rich inter-tidal biodiversity and marvel at their resilience (for surviving, if not thriving, despite the 2010 oil spill and ongoing development).

The substrate supports life, some invisible to the naked eye.

Mechanised beach cleaning equipment, such as the surf raker, disturbs the strandline habitat and eliminates vegetation. An obvious advantage manual beach cleaning has over mechanised beach cleaning, is the ability to differentiate natural and artificial items. Mechanise beach cleaning may also result in compacted beaches that are difficult or impossible to use for nesting, by creatures such as sea turtles.

A bazillion (Batillaria zonalis)

These guys are in abundance! They feed on microscopic algae and detritus. As such, their role in the environment is tremendous, as they act as ‘recyclers’ in the ecosystem, by feeding on decomposing matter.

Common sea stars (Archaster typicus)

Common sea stars used to occur in great numbers, but is now listed as ‘Vulnerable’ under the Red List of threatened animals in Singapore due to habitat loss, upon reclamation of land, and over-collection by beach-combers.

Corals are animals. Like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution.

Sharp-eyed Weiting spotted the Spotted Moon Crab (Ashtoret lunaris) in a sharp | Photo credit: Xu Weiting

Spotted Moon Crabs are relatively common on sandy shores, especially near seagrasses. Owing to their superb camouflage and shy nature, we tend to miss them when we visit the shores during the day. See this spectacular photo taken by Ria Tan, depicting what could possibly be two spotted moon crabs mating!

*Posed* Bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana)

Sea-land domination! This squid carcass was originally found in the waters, with two swimming crabs (each pinching on a tentacle, feeding probably). The ‘crabby’ party was spotted by Ivan Kwan. Upon closer inspection, we realised that some of the chromatophores were still active, implying that its death was rather recent!

A nerite snail

These eye-catching shells of nerites are more commonly found on rocky shores and mangroves. Similar in the appearance, you’d think that they’re all the same species of snail inhabiting varied outer shells. However, there are quite a few species of nerite snails found in Singapore, and you can actually distinguish some of them apart from the grooves on the underside of their shell. Learn to tell them apart, here!

Acorn worm cast

These casts comprise of processed sand, and are very commonly observed on shores. Acorn worms, themselves however, are rarely seen on land. As they are very vulnerable creatures, please avoid digging them up or attempt to handle any, if you’re lucky to see one emerging from the ground.

Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata)

Singapore‘s waters is home to 12 out of the 23 species of seagrasses found in the Indo-Pacific region. Seagrasses play a vital role in our ecosystem. Lush seagrass meadows provide food and shelter, serving as nurseries for many marine creatures in their juvenile stages.  Their establishment traps sediment in the water and confer a stabilising effect, alongside mangroves and corals. More about seagrasses here

SGCares hits the beach after the rain!

Many thanks to Andy Dinesh for helping us obtain the key to the sidegate, as well as liaising with NEA to coordinate trash collection at pre-designated trash pick-up points!

Loose ropes are potential threats to marine wildlife | Photo credit: Benjamin Tan

Removing sponge sheets with such glee! | Photo credits: Benjamin Tan

Kudos to them!

Here are some stats. to round off the Earth Day effort!

  • Time worked: ~15mins (106 people) + ~75mins (19 people)
  • Total weight cleared: ~240kg + ~160kg  = ~400kg (exclu. bulky items)
WHAT DID THE TRASH CONSTITUTE? 

Plastics dominated the trash gathered. They came in several forms, such as straws, packaging, bottles. Other trash constituents include styrofoam pieces, glass shards, a few syringes, ropes, fishing lines. It was also noted that a large fraction of the trash collected were tainted with oil.

Discarded insulin syringe

FIshing lines

Xu Weiting, ICCS Deputy Coordinator (previously Tanah Merah Zone Captain) | Photo credit: Benjamin Tan

Thank you all, for joining us in this Earth Day event. The session may have ended, but the effort doesn’t!

Share the experience with your friends and colleagues.

We’ll be holding the next clean-up in conjunction with World Oceans Day!

Do keep your Saturday (Jun 9) morning free!

Stalk this blog for updates!

Impressions from the community

Check out the rest of the photos on Flickr!

If you wish to share your photos with the community and want them in our Flickr repository, do refer to our FAQ for photo submission instructions