Message for Organisers: the new, 2013 Data Card for ICC Singapore

“Dear Organisers,

the international Coordinator of the International Coastal Cleanup, Ocean Conservancy, has issued a new Data Card for use by all participants in the globe from 2013.

The card has been modified for our use and the Singapore version of the card is attached. The Data Card has also been condensed so that Organisers will only need print one side of the card for your participants. This means less work and allows us to reuse one-sided waste paper for printing.

The 2013 ICC Singapore Data Card is available on the Organisers Page of the ICCS webpage.

ICC_Singapore_Data_Card-2013 (page 1 of 2) ICC_Singapore_Data_Card-2013 (page 2 of 2)

Why the new Data Card?
After considerable review by Ocean Conservancy, this version was issued to respond to increased efforts and strategies in tackling marine trash problems around the world. More efficient for general use, the 2013 Data Card also provides a focus on various types of plastic – hard plastic, flim plastic (plastic bags, etc) and foam plastic (what we commonly refer to as styrofoam).

Categories in the new Data Card

  • “Most Likely To Find Items” heads the new card. These items occupy most of data recorder’s time when we are picking, counting and categorising trash. So data collectors will find the right category very quickly most of the time.
  • Three clearly identifiable groups follow – “Fishing Gear”, “Packaging Materials” and “Personal Hygiene”.
  • “Other Trash” now includes cigarette lighters, tyres, appliances and fireworks.
  • “Most Unusual Item Collected” and “Dead/Injured Animals” are familiar.
    “Items of Local Concern” has changed (see next).

Estimating “styrofoam” pieces, or rather, EPS
While film plastic is already accounted for, “Items of Local Concern” lists the other two main plastic types – hard plastic and foam plastic.

What we refer to as “styrofoam” casually is actually “expanded polystyrene” or EPS! Well, EPS or foam plastic is a significant problem in Southeast Asia, so Singapore has already listed this category on the previous version of the Data Card.

Styrofoam is numerous, so we have always asked participants to estimate the amount conservatively. While this invariably underestimates the amount, it is preferred to an unreliable over-estimate. Our data thus provides some indication of the problem.

Last year, we reported that 42,263 out of 173,574 items collected were foam plastic pieces with about half of this coming from East Coast and Tanah Merah. This sort of data is needed in efforts to encourage alternatives.

Cannot categorise?
Remember that any trash item you cannot categorise in the Data Card need not be counted, simply collected and removed.

Cigarette Lighter collection
This year, please collect and send me your cigarette lighters! It is for Japanese researcher Shigeru Fujieda who uses cigarette lighters as an indicator item to trace movement and distribution of marine trash in oceans. I will write more about this later.

Excel Data Submission Form
The Excel Data Submission Form which you will use to submit your totals is listed in the Organisers Page of the ICCS webpage. This has been updated to reflect this new Data Card. You will need that only in September, after your cleanup. We will email you a reminder closer to the date.

If you have queries, please write.

Participants and Organisers in Singapore have done a wonderful job in collecting, reporting and publishing our data in great detail for over a decade. This has been useful not only in Singapore, but to others battling marine trash elsewhere too.

All the best with your preparations!



N. Sivasothi
Coordinator, International Coastal Cleanup Singapore
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore


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