Lim Chu Kang Beach recce for “Operation WE (coastal) Clean Up!”

25 Apr 2015 – In preparation for “Operation WE (coastal) Clean Up!,” an event in collaboration with the Public Hygiene Council (PHC), ICCS Zone Captain Adriane Lee and the ICCS-IKEA Intern headed down to Lim Chu Kang Beach for a recce.

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The low tide (0.8m) revealed trash throughout the entire mudflat. From plastic jerrycans, food containers and water bottles to styrofoam plates, these polymers were a constant sight throughout the habitat, amidst twigs and roots of trees. New pieces of trash were floating in the water, brought in by the incoming tide.

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The mudflat faces the Western Straits of Johor which see trash from numerous land-based sources deposited into rivers, as well as offshore fish farms. Accumulation of plastics and styrofoam in the habitat greatly impacts the biodiversity there, and devalues the beauty of a mangrove ecosystem.

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In the photo on the right, ICCS Zone Captain Adriane Lee demonstrates the appropriate footwear – shin-high water booties, for participants, if they wish to wade into the mud.

Despite the depressing sight, Adriane and I were pleasantly surprised by a family of four smooth-coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) in the water. They seemed to be engaged in a territorial dispute with dogs at the Police Coast Guard jetty.

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Of the guard dogs and otters.

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Apart from otters, there were signs of Sand-bubbler crabs (Scopimera sp.), a rewarding sight and reminder of why we conduct our coastal cleanups.

While chatting with an uncle who works with the coastal fish farmers, we found out that the beach was regularly cleaned by NEA. Two days before we visited the place, a team of cleaners had filled three lorries worth of more than 200 trash bags each – all to be sent to the incineration plant. Being so regularly cleaned, the habitat remained trashy from the constant recruitment.

Our participants on Sunday have food for thought – the origin of all that pollution, and how they can play a role in curbing the recurring trash load. We look forward to meeting them, and here’s to a meaningful Sunday afternoon at Lim Chu Kang Beach!

Site Allocation Exercise 1 – allocating organisations to ICCS 2015 sites!

Fri 24 Apr 2015: 7.00pm @ NUS Life Sciences Seminar Room 1 [S2-04] – The International Coastal Cleanup Coordinators conducted the first Site Allocation Exercise in preparation for ICCS 2015, which is scheduled for 19 Sep 2015.

Despite it being the week before final exams our undergraduate Zone Captains as Joys Tan and Joleen Chan (Tanah Merah), Tan Chia Wu (Changi) and Sean Yap (Pulau Ubin) were there for this important meeting, which lasted until 10.00pm.

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Left: Northeast Zone Captains – Ng Kai Scene and Yang Yi Yong
Right: Changi Zone Captain – Tan Chia Wu and ICCS Intern – Becky Lee

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Left: Northwest Zone Captains – Germaine Leng and Adriane Lee
Right: Pulau Ubin Zone Captains – Sean Yap, Sankar A. and Teo Kah Ming

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Left: South Zone Captains – Lim Cheng Puay and Maludin Mohammed
Right: Tanah Merah Zone Captains – Joleen Chan and Joys Tan

An email to ICCS 2014 Organisers was sent in April, and 33 schools and organisations have responded. We allocated these returning groups to various coastal and mangrove sites all around Singapore based on their choices. As sites filled up (e.g. Northeast and East Coast zones are almost fully filled), Zone Captains had to look to sites outside their zones to allocate organisations. We ensured each group had an appropriate site to work on for their participants.

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At the end of the evening, 1,542 volunteers from more than 30 organisations are registered for ICCS 2015. Public registration was opened the following Monday (27 Mar 2015), and Site Allocation Exercise II will be conducted at the end of May. We will have one more round of Site Allocation at the end of June, after which the ICCS team will focus on the Organiser’s Workshop, joint recces, and year-round coastal cleanups (YRCCs).

We look forward to working with our Organisers for ICCS 2015!