Pandan Mangrove revisited – back mangrove cut, less trash but still a sensitive site!

ICCS Pandan Mangrove Recce, 27 May 2013 by South Zone Captain Kelly Ong.

In support of our work at ICCS, my colleague Eric Kong has kindly offered to drive me all the way to the site again for the recce this year – thanks Eric!

We reached the mangrove around 3pm where there was a receding tide at 1.5m. The first thing which caught our attention was the clearing of the back mangrove vegetation behind bus-stop 25. What was the reason for that, I wondered?

Stumps and fallen branches of the trees were found in patches alongside the mangroves (see the photo below). This has made it easier to access the mangrove.


The trash load was medium-low – a great improvement since we first started cleaning up this mangrove patch some six years ago. But still an eyesore! We felt the itch to cleanup right away!

Items that we dispose of irresponsibly will end up in our waterways!

Lots of plastic bottles, food wrappers and containers, most likely washed in from the rising tide could be seen as usual.

A nice view of the mangrove if not for the trash!

Pandan mangrove will still be a good site for Organisers who want to present their participants with the added challenge of wading into the mud. Participants will have to walk mindfully to reduce impact to mangrove plant roots while removing the scattered trash.

A final recce nearer to the cleanup date with those who have chosen the site will be necessary to identity respective entry points.

Lets get ready for the action the 21st of September!

A burden of plastics relieved from Pandan mangrove – more than 900kg categorised, counted and removed!

High spirits filled the air under the beautiful early morning light and clear blue sky of the 8th of September 2012 as 90 volunteers from Wildlife Reserves Singapore, FMC Technologies, Nexus International School and Earthlink NTU gathered at Jalan Buroh bus stop number 25 for the fifth year of the annual Pandan mangrove cleanup for ICCS.

Site buddy Grace Ang got to serious work very quickly and inspired the young local and overseas tertiary students with her patient encouragement and by being a great and enthusiastic role-model.

Site buddy Grace Ang at work! Photo by Eric Kong

Our cool ‘lone ranger’ independent volunteer Nasrul turn up at the perfect timing and went all the way out into the mud to pick up any trash in sight!

Some interesting finds this year include a huge bag of shattered glass pieces and old furniture by Nexus International School.  The WRS ladies were as strong as the guys and impressed all with their muscle power and persistence in clearing a long heavy roll of nylon rope!

WRS folks huffing and puffing! Photo by Eric Kong.

Independent volunteer Nasrul waded into the mud
to remove abandoned crab traps!

Nasrul and I found two abandoned crab net-traps and during removal and we gasped when we saw a horseshoe crab beneath them! We were so glad it was alive and left it alone in the mud.

All in all, the 90 of us in total filled 65 trash bags with 5,004 items which we categorised and disposed, weighing more than 900kg of trash at Pandan Mangrove! Plastics bags numbering 1,881 and 676 food wrappers once again dominated the items collected at the fifth annual cleanup of this mangrove.

 FMC technologies’s professional trash weighing team! Photo by Eric Kong

After the hard work of the cleanup, smiles lit up everyone’s faces and I know it is a day each of us shall remember, making a difference for one of Singapore’s last remaining patches of mangrove.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore!

More photos:

  • Wildlife Reserves Singapore album – link
  • FMC Technologies – link

View the results – link

ICCS Pandan Top Ten Results 2012

Serenity in Pandan Mangrove. Photo by Eric Kong.

Eco warriors Unfazed by Gloomy Weather at Pandan Mangrove!

Dark, cloudy sky and a light drizzle did not deter 84 volunteers from springing into cleanup action at Pandan Mangrove!

This year’s warriors include veteran groups – Raffles Museum Toddycats, NUS Biodiversity Crew, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) plus two new organisations to the site – EARTHlink NTU and FMC Technologies.

As this remnant strip of mangrove in south-west Singapore is a fragile habitat, we sub-divided the site this year into 4 different sectors for the respective organisations to tackle, so as to minimise impact on the mangrove and to allow for a wider area to be combed.

Plastic bags, food containers and plastic beverage bottles made up the majority of items collected. Whilst there were much less illegally dumped trash like tyres and household appliances this time, we still found several large PVC plastic pipes, long wires and even abandoned mattresses and pillows!

Gorgeously muddy legs and booties! Photo by Amanda Tan.

Two young little heroes of the WRS team brought much joy and energy to the site with their enthusiasm and readiness to help in any way they could – certainly an inspiring sight.

Photo by Desmond Ling (WRS).

NUS and Raffles Museum group this year was small, but the 10 folks gave their all by treading deep into the mud to wipe out any trash in sight! Special thanks to Meryl Theng who offered to help as organiser for the group at the 11th hour and took everything in stride. New friendships were built and we certainly had a great workout!

NUS team – Top left: Amanda, Yi Jun, Meryl, Shiv, Wei Yu, Venus and Thiri.
Bottom left: Aloysius, Nasrul, Rini, Kelly. Photo by Amanda Tan.

A big thank you to all organisers who made this cleanup a success and we certainly look forward to your participation next year!

Photo by Desmond Ling (WRS).

Examining the trash challenge at Pandan Mangrove

ICCS Pandan Mangrove Recce, 13 May 2011 – I brought my colleague along to the mangrove edge whilst working around the area, to share more about the ICCS programme that is part of my life! We reached Pandan mangrove during a nice low tide of <1m around 4pm.

Although there was some amount of trash littering this tiny and little known mangrove, the situation now is so much better than when we first started work here four years ago!

Common trash found are plastic bottles, food packaging, plastic containers that have been brought in by the waters or dumped illegally.

The Pandan Mangrove cleanup has always been anchored tackled by enthusiastic participants who dare to get dirty and do serious work. We sure look forward to another exciting clean up come 17 September!

Oh, and just before we left, here was what we saw:

The wonders of mother nature! : ) What a beautiful sight to end our recce!

The first Berlayar Creek ICCS!

The combined efforts of NYGS and NParks saw a trash load of of 235kg were collected during the ICCS conducted at Berlayar Creek mangrove in Labrador Park this morning.

Despite having to wake up super early on a weekend morning, the group of enthusiastic volunteers set off at 6.30am for trash collecting and data collection. Most of the volunteers felt that such meaningful activity should be conducted more frequently on a regular basis!

See results here.

Toh Yuet Hsin
Site Captain, Berlayar Creek Mangrove
ICCS South Zone

Berlayar Creek: New ICCS Site!

On the early morning of 27 May during low tide, Yuet Hsin (our new Otter from Nparks and Site Captain for Berlayar Creek)  plus Siva and myself went to the creek at Labrador Nature Reserve for a site recce!

First thing we had to do was to climb down a rocky slope to get into the mouth of the creek – which we gals took a while to do to the amusement of Siva!

The site did not have as much trash as we expected, but still there were abandoned fishing cages, nets, wires and cables dispersed along the approximately 1km stretch. As we waded deeper into the creek, the mud got softer and we felt it would be a challenge for layman who are not familiar treading in mud. Furthermore, there would be difficulty getting the trash out since most areas leading to land had already been fenced up. Hence, we decided to just tackle the mouth for this year’s ICCS and when the boardwalk by URA is ready end of 2010, we can clear further in next year with the better accessibility.

We had to squeeze our way out back to solid land via a barb-wired small hole in the fence but oh! we saw  flowering sea hibiscus and Siva spotted 2 white bellied eagle hovering in the clear blue sky! Nice.

98 Warriors make a difference at Pandan Mangrove

98 participants tackled marine debris at Pandan mangroves this morning – the combined volunteer force hailed from Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), Singapore Police Force (SPF) Squad, independent sign-up and the Raffles Museum Toddycats and Department of the Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Together they cleared 1.7 tonnes of trash in just 90 minutes!

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This is the second year that ICCS has tackled Pandan mangroves to contribute to a healthier condition of this tiny, rare but amazing stretch of mangrove in the south-west of Singapore. More abandoned tyres (25) were cleared this year, plus a huge amount of accumulated trash including plastic bags (2,744), food wrappers (835) and styrofoam pieces (757) that still persist on this fragementary habitat.

The clean up process at the site was tough and slow compared to a beach clean up site due to the difficult terrain. Many participants trudged knee-deep in the mud just to lay their hands on the trash pieces that pepper the entire mangrove forest floor.

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The SPF team had an interesting encounter – they saw a snake (probably a harmless dog-faced water snake) as they cleared some tyres but, of course, they were unfazed about it and continued.

Despite all the hard work, everyone of us ended the session in good cheer, having known that we have made a positive difference for the mangrove and its inhabitants!

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See the photo album on Flickr – link.