More than 3,500 volunteers from some 80 schools, corporate groups and agencies will take to beach and mangroves of Singapore early this morning to collect, categorise and remove trash from our shores – for the 22nd year!
We chose to work the low tide this week before the rest of the world conduct their cleanups on the third Saturday of September as identified by Ocean Conservancy, the international coordinator.
The cleanup act in itself will inform and educate the adults and school children who participate. Within a week, the full, detailed data set is published on our webpage for public use (e.g. see the 2013 results). Talks extend the outreach of the data and through an internship sponsored by IKEA (proceeds from the sale of cornware take-away boxes in IKEA), our youth speakers have reached more than 2,000 people through some 20 talks.
Several of us are taking the data and its lessons into classrooms at the tertiary level to emphasise the issue of marine trash, the environment and the 3R’s – we feel this to be a particularly significant topic in Singapore and are concerned that this is somehow not yet ingrained in our lives.
We convey our thanks to the many NParks managers who work with us, particularly in Pulau Ubin but also at Sungei Buloh, Sembawang, Pasir Ris, Pulau Ubin, Changi/Tanah Merah and ECP. And we very grateful to NEA’s Department of Public Cleanliness who have handled trash removal at sites around the island with promptness and efficiency.
This year, the Singapore Land Authority and Singapro Police Force have been very helpful in facilitated access to what are now restricted areas in sites at Lim Chu Kang and Tanah Merah.
Our volunteer Zone Captains range from decades-old veterans to fresh-faced university undergraduates – we realise the problem of marine trash is a significant one and are appreciative of the many individuals on the ground in various agencies, including school teachers, who address this all year round.
Today’s effort by volunteers is, in a way, also a a quiet but heartfelt celebration of the tenacity of the many people who all work to make environmental responsibility a hallmark of all Singaporeans.
Alright then, let’s hit the beach!