The first mangrove cleanup conducted this year was conducted at the Sungei Pandan Mangrove (site SP2) on 08 Jan 2016 by the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) Community Education/Engagement Branch (CEB) with the support of ICCS.
The BES team consisting of 23 undergraduates collected a total of 213.4kg of trash, with the most common items being plastic bags and wrappers (~300 pieces), plastic bottles (~150 pieces) and expanded polystyrene (styrofoam) pieces (~100 pieces).
Styrofoam pieces ranged from smaller pieces (1cm x 1cm) to take-out food containers and even larger packaging pieces (1m x 50cm). Drinking straws and “lollipop sticks” were also abundant.
Unexpected items were helmets, buckets and even a fishing trap. On the bright side, no lost or discarded fishing gear (fishing rope, line or net) was present, other than the single fishing trap.
The cleanup was a success with larger pieces of trash removed from the mangroves. However, due to manpower and time constraints, we could not remove all the visible trash from the site, and could see that a number of plastic bottles, bags and wrappers remained. Some of these were trapped in between the roots and branches, reducing their accessibility.
Mangroves are an important ecosystem we want to protect and conserve, for the ecosystem services they provide and for the wildlife that call it home. We hope to return to continue the battle against marine trash at this precious site in our neighbourhood!
On behalf of the BES CEB team, we would like to thank ICCS Singapore (Coordinator Sivasothi and South Zone Captain Mr Lim Cheng Puay) for their advice, time and expertise during the planning phase as well as logistical support during the actual event.
By: Ang Hui Hao, NUS BES
Congratulations to the NUS BES students! Thank you for contributing to the marine environment.