The ICC 2013 Report has arrived! “Working for Clean Beaches and Clean Water”

The 2012 Ocean Trash Index which is the compilation of data and reports from the 2012 international cleanups is now available.

“The Ocean Trash Index presents state-by-state and country-by-country data about ocean trash collected and tallied by volunteers around the world on one day each fall during Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup®.”

You can download a copy of the 2012 results now!


Pandan Mangrove revisited – back mangrove cut, less trash but still a sensitive site!

ICCS Pandan Mangrove Recce, 27 May 2013 by South Zone Captain Kelly Ong.

In support of our work at ICCS, my colleague Eric Kong has kindly offered to drive me all the way to the site again for the recce this year – thanks Eric!

We reached the mangrove around 3pm where there was a receding tide at 1.5m. The first thing which caught our attention was the clearing of the back mangrove vegetation behind bus-stop 25. What was the reason for that, I wondered?

Stumps and fallen branches of the trees were found in patches alongside the mangroves (see the photo below). This has made it easier to access the mangrove.


The trash load was medium-low – a great improvement since we first started cleaning up this mangrove patch some six years ago. But still an eyesore! We felt the itch to cleanup right away!

Items that we dispose of irresponsibly will end up in our waterways!

Lots of plastic bottles, food wrappers and containers, most likely washed in from the rising tide could be seen as usual.

A nice view of the mangrove if not for the trash!

Pandan mangrove will still be a good site for Organisers who want to present their participants with the added challenge of wading into the mud. Participants will have to walk mindfully to reduce impact to mangrove plant roots while removing the scattered trash.

A final recce nearer to the cleanup date with those who have chosen the site will be necessary to identity respective entry points.

Lets get ready for the action the 21st of September!

Site Allocation Exercise III – now there are 3,107 volunteers from 61 organisations signed up

During recent recces by Zone Captains, we realised that some beaches were closed or had to be for safety reasons due to erosion or construction works in the area.

The closures affected three organisations with some 300 potential volunteers who had to be put on hold as we look for suitable sites for them.

Meanwhile, results of Site Allocation Exercise III (30 May 2013) were announced to the remaining Organisers last night:

Organisation name (estimated number) – Zone: Site

  • Adrian Lim & Friends (20) – PU: CJ4-5
  • Beatty Beaver Scout Group (25) – SO: SJI
  • Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (20) – PU: Ubin Village Beach
  • Maritime & Port Authority of Singapore (12) – PU: Ketam 1
  • Oil Spill Response Limited (30) – TM: TM6
  • PayPal Pte Ltd (50) – TM: TM6
  • Republic Polytechnic Conservation Interest Group (30) – NW: LCK Beach
  • USP NUS (30) – PU: Ketam 2

This brings the current participation number to 3,107 volunteers from 61 organisations.

There are still small sites available in various zones on the morning of 21 Sep 2013 and a large site (PR6) in the afternoon. Visit for details.

This time I did not meet with Zone Captains face to face but instead met online via LINE and with relevant the Google Doc open.

It took us two hours to get updated by the recent site recces, look for alternate sites as needed, make phone calls and confirm site allocations for various groups.

This is our 3rd Site Allocation Exercise and there will be a final one in end-June.

Next it will be time for the Organiser’s Workshops in July.

Updates from the Zone Captains’ recces: beach closures this year

ICCS Zone Captains have been visiting shores around Singapore, to check on the condition of beaches and mangroves in terms of trash load, access and any other changes.

Changi Beach, which we cycle past regularly and check on, is now open once again. Meanwhile, the Kranji-Buloh mangrove is still closed for works along the Kranji Nature Trail.

At the Pulau Ubin recce, our zone captains Teo Kah Ming and Sean Yap report Noordin Beach closed due to erosion; here’s the photo from the new Dy Zone Captain for Pulau Ubin, Sean Yap:

ICCS beach closures - Nordin beach

Meanwhile, the recce team at Tanah Merah comprising Hwang Wei Song, Gladys Chua and the new Dy Ezra Teo report no joy for TM8 and TM9.

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore: Zones & Sites - Google Maps

This means a loss of available space for 250 participants. However safety concerns overrule all else.

Wei Song and Gladys sent me an update earlier tonight:

Tanah Merah Coast Road is the main road through which sites TM8 & TM9 are accessed. This road is currently heavily used by dump trucks transporting sand from a barge anchored at TM10.

This has made the road extremely dusty and visibility is a problem.

There are no suitable trash collection points (TCPs) along the coastal road. The only possible site is across the traffic junction but this would require traffic marshalers to direct traffic and they will need to wear masks.

In any case the road is not safe. A friend who works at Changi Naval Base informed us of a few accidents along that road involving pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles due to the poor visibility and heavy vehicle movement.

There are two exits for the sites. The first is narrow, chained up and requires climbing over and this not suitable for transporting trash out. The second entrance is undergoing construction work, land clearance and tarring roads. There is also heavy machinery in the vicinity and the need to cross the construction area to get to the main road.

Given the safety concerns on the road, closure of one entrance and inaccessibility of the second, I recommend not using the site for this year unless the status changes.

I wonder how long these works last. We will probably revisit in August, but meanwhile, we won’t hold our breath and are writing to affected groups to offer alternative sites.

This is why Zone Captains conduct recces in the earlier half of the year, even before Organisers do in July; there are always surprises along the shore.

Budak Pantai sings about Marine Trash!

Fri 24 May 2013 – I met up with friends at the Marina Bay area for dinner last Friday and strolled past the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre. There, a crowd was gathering and so we decided to see what would transpire!

We were rewarded by the appearance of local a cappella group Budak Pantai! They began their repertoire with a few mainstream favourites and oldies, before progressing into lyrical parodies of current affairs.

Between songs about Pedra Branca and making more babies, one performance really caught my attention!

image (3)

In the background, the slides changed to a screenshot of the very familiar “News from International Coastal Cleanup Singapore” – yes this blog! What was going on?

Well, Budak Pantai was introduced the crowd to the threat of marine trash, even citing statistics.  Then, they broke into song, with humourous yet thought-provoking verses describing the detrimental effects of marine pollution and about the need to preserve the environment for our kids and the future.

The performance was greeted with massive applause!

We always say everyone can help contribute to spreading environmental awareness, and it was heartening to see our own local artists reach out to the community in such a creative and effective way!

Now how do we get a copy of that performance? We should show that to schools!

– Sean Yap,
Dy Zone Captain, Pulau Ubin

Budak Pantai declares “Plastics are Forever” (a performance from 03 Jun 2012):