Sat 04 Aug 2012: Join us on our pre-National Day coastal cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang mangrove!

Celebrate our National Day with a mangrove cleanup on Saturday, 4th August 2012! Sign up here by Thursday!

The Mission:

Lim Chu Kang mangrove is a beautiful and unique patch of unprotected mangrove in Singapore, facing the Western Straits of Johor. It is adjacent to a Police Coast Guard base and offshore, kelongs and fish farms unload their produce at the jetty for delivery to markets in Singapore.

Scientists have worked in this mangrove for decades and though it is but a small patch that remains, it is scientifically interesting and holds many stories about animal and plant life and heritage in Singapore. In 2008, the Sungei Buloh Master Plan revealed it would link up with the Lim Chu Kang mangroves.

The famous mud lobster mounds of Lim Chu Kang mangrove

The famous mud lobster mounds of Lim Chu Kang mangrove

Trash from the Johor Straits is regularly deposited on Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove and since this is state land, and not used recreationally, the impact on marine life is battled through the efforts of various groups who take to the beach and mangrove during cleanups throughout the year.

A typical scene at Lim Chu Kang beach
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The removal of trash is tackled sensitively through the actions of small groups. To contribute to this exercise, I organise a pre-National Day cleanup annually in celebration of Singapore’s birthday and invite anyone who might want to come – last year sixty-four of us removed more than a tonne of trash in just over an hour! All you have to do is sign up here by Thu 02 Aug 2012 to be part of a happy bunch!

The pre-national Day Coastal Cleanup 2011 cleared more than one tonne of trash!

Itinerary:

  • 0745 – bus pick-up at Dover MRT and one bus-stop after Clementi MRT, along Commonwealth Avenue West Road
  • 0830 – reach LCK, distribute into sub-groups, apply insect repellent, collect gloves and trash bags.
  • 0845 – Briefing, identification of Trash Loading Point (TLP) and bus shelter, wet weather plan (carry on unless lightning threat)
  • 0900 – cleanup begins.
  • 1000 – Loading teams start moving trash out to TLP
  • 1030 – clean-up ends, weigh trash and discussion; Q&A
  • 1045 – participants clean up – note: no washing point, so bring small amount of water to wipe down.
  • 1100 – Bus returns to Clementi MRT then NUS – Note: help needed to wash gloves in NUS.

 

Pre-National Day mangrove cleanup_ Site and Pickup Points - Bus stop at Commonwealth Avenue West opposite block 317
The Clementi pick up point, one bus stop after Clementi MRT

Provided:

  1. Transport to site.
  2. Gloves.
  3. Trash bags.
  4. Weighing scales.

Be prepared!

  • Sleep early the night before and hydrate – this will affect your performance and enjoyment of the morning,
  • set your alarm to wake up on time – we can’t wait for latecomers (time and tide critical) and
  • have a decent breakfast – it will be a workout, last year 42 of us cleared >800kg of trash!

What you should bring:

  1. Covered shoes with hard soles – hard-soled booties are fine.
  2. Water bottle (at least one litre of water).
  3. Hat and/or sun block.
  4. Raincoat/ponco (we’ll carry on working in rain)
  5. Towel in a bag – to wipe off any sand and mud off you.
  6. Suggestion – dry fit clothes are suitable for this work. If you prefer cotton, a change of t-shirt will come in handy after a sweaty workout.
  7. Light pants will help protect your legs from insect bites (if you tend to get bitten!) as well as from the debris, but bermudas are fine.
  8. Water-proof your belongings.
  9. Some water to wipe yourself down with

Transport:

Registered participants who require transport can be picked up at these timings/locations (click for maps):

  1. 0740 – Bus stop at Dover MRT along Commonwealth Ave West (Bus stop no. 19031)
  2. 0745 – Bus Stop after Clementi Interchange (Bus stop no. 17171; note you must walk some 100m from Clementi MRT Station)

Note that the bus cannot wait at these locations so do come early.

Driving?
Meet us at Lim Chu Kang Road end (click for map) at 0830 where parking space is available.

Cleanup site at Lim Chu Kang mangrove

Happy National Day!

Assembly talk – 400 Nanyang Primary students learn about marine life in Singapore!

Some 400 Primary Five students at Nanyang Primary School had a different sort of assembly on the 23rd July 2012, Monday. This was during Green Week 2012 and a special time in the year where teachers could arrange for guest speakers.

I was all setup with five minutes to go and the primary five students streamed in to the assembly hall for an ICCS talk on local marine biodiversity, threats and how each person can make a difference.

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Students filling up the assembly hall

Throughout the talk, there was a healthy level of response from the students. Many were fascinated by photos of marine organisms that could be found on our shores. The group was also mesmerised by the video of the baby turtles scrambling out to sea and the wrestling monitor lizards in our mangroves!

I was bombarded with questions from the floor about each of the animals that I talked about. and on cue, before I talked about the threat of ghost nets killing our precious horseshoe crabss in the mudflats, one of the students walked up to me to ask,” Why do you need a pair of scissors when you are inside the mangrove?” .

During the section about threats to marine life, I showed them Chris Jordan’s Midway Trailer Which has great impact in conveying the severity of man’s impact.

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Start of the ICCS Talk

At this point, some students hid their plastic bottles -these had bottle caps similar to the ones found in the bodies of the dead young albatrosses! GReat awareness that an innocent item in the wrong place can be harmful to the planet.

During the more sober atmosphere which followed the trailer, I ended as usual with some suggestions about simple ways in which we can reduce our use of single-use plastics, and by now, the familiar 3Rs had a greater significance – and everyone can make a difference!

It is always heartening when we can go down to talk to students about Singapore’s marine biodiversity and the threats ecosystems and animals face here and elsewhere. With awareness, students can be motivated to make a difference to the planet.