The trash on the Pulau Serangoon shore

In June 2011, I conducted a recce with NParks staff at Pulau Serangoon (Coney Island) for sightings of the smooth-coated otter and for ICCS. Well there is trash there, and a lot of it is beyond the highest high water spring tide level and in the mangrove.

However, the access way from the inland road to the shore are trails through a casuarina forest. This typically undulating terrain and is destined to snap an ankle or two especially when carrying trash out from the shore to the trash disposal site. So sadly, it is too harzadous to send  volunteers into the area.

Pulau Serangoon ICCS Recce, 2011.jpg

The Pulau Serangoon recce on 22 June 2011

So no joy for a coastal cleanup at Pulau Serangoon until we solve that problem. I have been considering a beach operation, but that will require some work to setup. For now instead, I have focused on setting up Lim Chu Kang East Mangrove and Kranji East Mangrove sites. Both these mangrove sites in the north-west  typically have a very high trash load and require a lot of work to setup a safe and regular cleanup operation.

It’s been more than two years since the Pulau Serangoon recce and last week, Ivan Kwan from NParks shared photos from a visit there. He reported that the trash is still there and the shores are calling out to us for help.

You are not forgotten, marine life of Pulau Serangoon! I will keep looking out for an Organiser, a method and a band of volunteers capable enough for this site.

Meanwhile, Ivan’s photos serves as a reminder of the burden of marine trash, and you can view more in the Flickr album.

If you feel keen to do something about this, and have the field experience, do email me at Exam marking is almost over and we can chat during the monsoon and plan to recce the site in the first quarter of next year. No dramatics are required, slow and steady work over several years will have a miraculous effect.

Thanks Ivan!




Cigarette lighters from Singapore, for Shigeru Fujieda at Kagoshima University, Japan

During this year’s International Coastal Cleanup, we asked the Volunteer Coastal Cleanup Organisers to set aside and send us the cigarette lighters they collected off the beach in Singapore.

Dr Shigeru Fujieda from Kagoshima University is using cigarette lighters to track marine trash movement. He has published work for the north-western Pacific (Japan, Korea) and has ongoing research on the subject.

In June this year, he met many of the International Coastal Cleanup coordinators from the Asia Pacific in Korea during the AMETEC Workshop I on Marine Debris and invited us to contribute data to the project.

Armed with this simple appeal, many ICCS Organisers graciously sent us their collections rom the shores around Singapore. When we returned to NUS that 3rd Saturday in September, Pearlynn Sim decided she’d help process the collection with Melissa Teo’s help – thanks, girls!

She did such a good job, I asked her to help with the later submissions that came in. So tonight she is back in NUS to complete the job.

Next – to package the lot and send it to Fuijiera-san!

Thanks everyone, for your contributions!

Pearlynn Sim leaning and sorting a second lot of cigarette lighters from the beaches of Singapore. Photos by Xu Weiting, her java!

20131128 Pearlynn Lim sorting cig lighters

The motherload from Sungei Loyang, sent in recently by Chua Yi Teng, Woodlands Ring Secondary School!

20131128 cigarette lighter colelction from SG Loyang

“Every little bit adds up” – an encouraging two minute video to “Keep Our Waterways Clean”

The “Keep Our Waterways Clean” video has cleanup volunteers and coordinators from Waterway Watch Singapore and ICCS discussing “Every little bit adds up” – daily littering contributes to unsightly and harmful impact in our waterway and shores.

But “every little bit adds up” is also the source of strength to combat the problem, from individual responsibility to reduce the impact and volunteer effort to combat the problem on the ground.

I like this two-minute video very much, the volunteers gives you such a hopeful feeling.

Nurul, Waterways Watch Society:

“You can see the hard work and effort of everybody to build up the country to what it is now, cannot keep the park or the waters clean just by like, one or two of us, it is actually [the responsibility of] a lot of people, the community, all of us.”

Syahidah, ICCS Organiser (RGS):

“…its pretty sad to see that scenery destroyed by our trash. Every little bit adds up. So even if you see that its just one harmless cigarette butt or one empty packet, at the end of the day, can add up to millions of tons and that’s pretty overwhelming.”

Huan, ICCS student volunteer:

“I feel really heartened to see, like, all us Singaporeans coming together and picking up all the litter, it shows that we care about our environment”.

This video will be screened widely to get the message out. Thanks to NEA and the Public Hygiene Council for getting this done. Find out more at

If you feel motivated to join us to plan our 2014 International Coastal Cleanup campaign, please see!

When did washing your face, brushing your teeth and scrubbing your body become an act of pollution?

When the little grindy things in your lotions and pastes were changed to plastic.

“Beat the Microbead campaign” is asking the manufacturers of many personal care products like scrubs and peels which now contain plastic particles to replace them with environmentally friendly alternatives, such as anise seeds, sand, salt or coconut.

These are materials that were used before plastic particles.

See these international webpages below for more information about the issue and the campaign, and how to get involved. ”