ICCS2007 on the Chinese newspaper, Lian He Zao Bao.
Title: Large increase in volunteers for Coastal Cleanup Day
By Chua Hwee Leng.
Food containers, styrofoam pieces, cigarettes, cigarette butts, beverage bottles, as well as clothing items such as shoes and socks … These are trash collected from Singapore’s shorelines and mangroves.
Last Saturday was the day of the International Coastal Cleanup. Over 2500 volunteers from schools, professional and governmental organisations fan out to 13 shores and mangroves, picking up trash to give the coast line a “make-over”. The places include East Coast park, Pasir Ris beach, Changi Beach, Tampines Beach, Kallang Basin and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.
Singapore has since 1992, answered the call to participate in the International Coastal Cleanup.
In charge of coordinating the annual International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) activities is Mr Sivasothi, a research officer with the National University of Singapore Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research. According to his estimate for this year, volunteers are likely to collect more than 8 tons of trash.
10 tons of trash was collected from last year’s ICCS, with the majority of the trash coming from littering; among the top three trash in terms of quantity, styrofoam pieces leads the list with 23279 pieces, making up 25% of all trash. Food containers comes next with 8881 pieces making up 10% followed by 8840 pieces of cigarette and cigarette butts, making up 9.97%.
Even though the total trash load from this year is less than last year’s, Mr Sivasothi attributed the reason as the ICCS is now in its 16th year; the bulky trash from the mangroves have been cleared by volunteers. However, he emphasized that cleanup in the mangroves will have to continue. The coordinating committee estimates that the complete collation of collected data will only be available by October.
Every year, after collating the data from the cleanup, volunteers will submit the data to the government, in line with the actions from other countries.
There are 70 to 100 countries taking part in the annual International Coastal Cleanup. But other than cleaning the beach, participants also sort and record down the trash collected, with the data being submitted to the Ocean Conservancy, an organization under the United Nations, for further analysis, identifying the sources of marine trash in order to formulate strategies to prevent pollution of the ocean.
Mr Sivasothi told the reporter even though no advertisement for ICCS was made on the media, in recent years, ICCS has been attracting the attention of Singaporeans, with more and more people participating in the event, making the coast of this sea-surrounded Garden City cleaner. There were only 1800 volunteers in last year’s event, less than half of this year’s numbers.
In order to accommodate volunteers who had registered, the coordinating committee will be cleaning up the beaches over the next two Saturdays.
Header: Singapore not just has to recycle but reduce trash from source
While the current situation is heartening, Mr Sivasothi deemed a need in improving the communication of Singapore’s ocean protection and water pollution messages.
He says, “Many people still do not know there are marine life in the waters of Singapore, they do know there are sea turtles, dolphins, otters, dugongs and other larger animals, appearing in Singapore’s shores and waters. Some people also do not realize their shopping habits results in large quantity of trash being disposed of. Singapore no longer has any space for landfills. Even though, in the interest of preventing environmental damage, we had build a landfill on the offshore islands, but in the process, we had also sacrificed some coral reefs and mangroves. What we need to do is not just recycling, but also source reduction (of trash).”