The scheduled day for the International Coastal Cleanup around the planet was the third Saturday of September – yesterday, 21 September 2013. Most of our sites around Singapore were busy and only a few organisations executing their cleanups earlier or later.
Zone and Site Captains hit the shores to support or manage sites around the island. This is the result of work since the second quarter of the year and very much anticipated!
With the actually cleanups completed, the focus then shifts to ensuring the data which volunteers recorded is compiled, represented, and readied for submission.
We try to do this as quickly as possible after the cleanup to minimise subsequent work for the Organisers, and also for the volunteer coordinators who are engulfed by our day jobs when the weekend is up! Although we want to do this quickly, accuracy is more important.
We returned to the lab at the National University of Singapore to wash gloves and hunker down to process data yesterday afternoon. The data submissions by Organisers came in fast and furious by email, which was lovely to see.
The data submission rate was not as good as previous years. By Sunday morning, we are still awaiting data from a several sites in our eight zones:
- Pulau Ubin West – data not in yet
- North East – 5 sites left
- Changi – 4 sites left
- Pulau Ubin – 3 sites
- South – 2 sites left
- North West – 1 site left
- Tanah Merah – 1 site left
- East Coast – all in!
We’ll work with Organisers to improve this next year. Maybe an easier data submission form – we have been using an Excel submission form for more than a decade – form reports are not as good but new options have emerged.
Meanwhile Zone Captains are following up with Organisers.
As the data is compiled, we can observe the variation between registered numbers and the actual turnout of volunteers. This helps us estimate how much we can increase the registered site capacity, as actual numbers are often (but not always) less than registered numbers.
The ICCS Status page (iccs-status.rafflesmuseum.net) now also tracks if Organisers have submitted their cleanup data and if we have processed and published this data.
This is our current priority.
We had a brief hiccup yesterday afternoon as NUS servers were down for some exercise. Thankfully we were able to resume publishing in the evening. Then we will ask Organisers to check if their data is represented correctly.
As results are published, links go live in the results page at coastalcleanup.nus.edu.sg/results/2013
This is a simple index page which links to the data reports for each site. Data reports are generated per Organisation, per site, per zone as a total for Singapore.
See the site results for Lim Chu Kang East mangrove below, which compiles data from four Organisations over two days of cleanups.
Also streaming in are photos. These are hosted on a Flickr Pro album after following a file-renaming and tagging protocol. We want for anyone to be able to figure out a photo’s location and origins in future without having to consult us, so this is really useful.
The Zone Captains contribute the first albums from their sites and other albums are submitted by Organisers. It is lovely to flip past the years to see old friends but even more is achieved – we use the photos for reports, blog posts and to orientate new Organisers to the site in future years.
Zone Captains will write blog posts about their sites which do more to inform and acknowledge. These posts are referred to during reports and site analyses. I hope we will see some blog posts emerge beyond the volunteer coordinators – Facebook posts reach friends effectively but are unavailable to others and will be lost from the newsfeed within days.
The documentation of the experience, whether it be data, photos or blog posts, is critical. It enhances the experience, provides tools to better understand the processes and situation. The material importantly supports downstream initiatives and this effort ensures a significant resource is available to anyone.
While the work continued into the night, it was nice to see news of cleanups in other parts of the planet emerge on twitter. A concerted effort around the globe to battle the curse of marine litter. A message to amplify beyond the morning of the cleanup.