ICCS Zone Captain (NW & NE) recces of 15 sites in Mar 2015

Weekend of 07 & 08 Mar 2015 – ICCS Zone Captains and the Intern visited 15 different cleanup sites in the Northwest and Northeast zones to conduct preliminary recces. We examined four large sites in the Northwest on Saturday and 11 sites in the Northeast on Sunday. Certainly much work is needed to help our mangrove and coastal areas cope with the load of marine trash!

Sites examined:

Northwest Zone: Zone Captain Adriane Lee & Intern Becky Lee

  1. Kranji East mangrove
  2. Lim Chu Kang East mangrove
  3. Sungei Buloh West mangrove
  4. Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove

Northeast Zone: Zone Captains Yang Yi Yong & Ng Kai Scene & Intern Becky Lee

  1. Sungei Loyang
  2. Pasir Ris Beach 1
  3. Pasir Ris Beach 2
  4. Pasir Ris Beach 6
  5. Sungei Tampines
  6. Punggol Beach 1
  7. Punggol Beach 2
  8. Sungei Seletar 1
  9. Sungei Seletar 2
  10. Selimang Beach
  11. Sembawang Beach

At Kranji East Mangrove in the Northwest, we were greeted by a truck load of trash.

2015-03-07 08.13.23 2015-03-07 08.13.29

Discarded fishing nets are entangled amongst mangrove roots, and pulling them out, Adriane discovered a horseshoe crab trapped inside. He gently removed the animal and placed it back on the shore but it was no longer moving.

2015-03-07 08.53.44 2015-03-07 08.56.33

At Lim Chu Kang East mangrove, the strandline was polluted with discarded nets, plastic bottles, plastic oil containers, tarp sheets, and of course – styrofoam.

2015-03-07 09.09.06 2015-03-07 09.18.33

The situation at Lim Chu Kang Jetty:

2015-03-07 10.32.22

2015-03-07 10.39.51 2015-03-07 10.40.03

The mangroves were multi-colored, peppered with food containers, detergent bottles, beer cans, plastic bottles and styrofoam.

On Sunday, we began with Sungei Loyang at a very low tide which exposed the accumulated trash at that mangrove.

 2015-03-08 07.40.35 2015-03-08 07.40.57

Pasir Ris Beaches 1 and 2 are recreational beaches cleaned daily by professional cleaners. There tiny fragments of plastic and styrofoam littered the strandline.

2015-03-08 07.53.25 2015-03-08 07.53.36

Our Northeast Zone Captains; Chen Kee, Yi Yong and Kai Scene!

2015-03-08 07.55.02 2015-03-08 07.55.06

Plastics and styrofoam bits on our beaches are a common site. You can see this even on Pasir Ris Beach 2, a recreational beach cleaned daily by cleaners.

2015-03-08 08.25.30
Pasir Ris Beach 6 is adjacent to Pasir Ris Park and not cleaned daily by clears. there the trash load burden on marine life is higher

2015-03-08 08.26.03 2015-03-08 09.14.50

2015-03-08 09.21.54 2015-03-08 09.22.38

2015-03-08 09.23.31 2015-03-08 09.24.18

Sungei Seletar presented an amazing scene – barely any land was left to be seen from under the trash cover.

2015-03-08 11.01.53 2015-03-08 11.02.04 2015-03-08 11.02.18

2015-03-08 11.11.02 2015-03-08 11.12.16

We wrapped up the recces for the weekend, with adamant spirits and determination boiling within us. The battle with marine trash will never end, but we hope as ICCS participants hit the shores and witness this pollution in Clean and Green Singapore, the reflection of our lifestyles and day-to-day habits will trigger action and encourage more environmentally-friendly practices. Together we can and MUST make an impact to protect our oceans.

Celebrate Earth Day with a Coastal Cleanup @ Pasir Ris Beach 6!

In conjunction with Earth Day, volunteers with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) will be conducting a cleanup at Pasir Ris Beach 6 on Saturday, 18th April 2015: 4.00pm – 6.00pm.

Registration has closed! Thank you to those that have signed up!

We will meet directly at Pasir Ris Park Carpark E before walking over to the cleanup site together

google form photo2

What is Earth Day? Earth Day is an annual event to celebrate our Earth, proposed by peace activist John McConnell. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now commemorated by 192 countries every 22nd of April.

Why Cleanup? In Singapore, our coast lines host innumerable amounts of biodiversity. Trash present in these areas impact our wildlife adversely, releases toxic chemicals and devalue the natural beauty of the landscape. Coastal cleanups are conducted by volunteers around the world to remove this trash, raise awareness of the plight of our oceans, and motivate us to rethink our habits in daily urban living towards sustainable practises.

Pasir Ris 6 is a beach located in the East of Singapore, next to Pasir Ris Park. It is not frequently visited by members of the public, and the beach is therefore not regularly cleaned.

 2015-03-08 09.14.24 2015-03-08 09.19.12 2015-03-08 09.20.58 2015-03-08 09.21.54

 2015-03-08 09.24.18 2015-03-08 09.23.31

Meeting Point All participants will meet at Pasir Ris Park Carpark E, before walking over to Pasir Ris Beach 6 together. Below is a map for reference: Pasir Ris Beach 6 Directions from Pasir Ris MRT to Carpark E

Directions from PR MRT to bus stopParticipants can take Bus 403 from Pasir Ris Bus Interchange, a short walk from Pasir Ris MRT. They will alight at “opp Unit 104” bus stop, (BUS CODE: 77129) after the bus goes around a roundabout, 10 stops later.

2015-04-12 09.07.18 2015-04-12 09.08.47

Left: The roundabout that the bus will go around before it stops at “opp Unit 104.”
Right: Water Venture, which lies at the side of the Carpark. The Carpark E sign is visible at the left side.

 2015-04-12 10.50.21

This is what the participants will see opposite “opp Unit 104.”

We will have volunteers dressed in bright red shirts, standing at the bus stop to guide you to Carpark E. See below:

People to look out for


16:00 – All participants to meet at Pasir Ris Park Carpark E, start walking to Pasir Ris Beach 6
16:15 – Briefing and identification of Trash Collection Point (TCP). Brief of wet weather plans (which is to carry on unless there is a lighting threat). Organize everyone into groups of 4, apply insect repellant, collect gloves, trash bags, ICCS data cards, and other required logistics.
16:30 – Cleanup begins
18:00 – Transportation of trash to TCP.
18:15 – End of clean-up. Trash is weighed and discussion/ reflection time.
18:30 – Participants clean up. Toilets are available at Pasir Ris Park, a short walk away.

Things to note

  1. You must wear hard-soled covered shoes or booties to to protect your feet from hazards.
  2. A change of clothes is recommended after a sweaty workout.
  3. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites, but bermudas are fine.
  4. Water-proof your belongings, in the case of bad weather.

Things to bring:

  1. Water bottle (with at least one litre of water)
  2. Hat and/ or sun block
  3. Raincoat/ poncho (we will work in rain)

Be prepared:

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a decent lunch – it’s hard work!
  3. Be punctual – we are unable to wait for latecomers; tide waits for no one!
  4. Refer to this recce report of PR6 for more information on the cleanup site.

Thank you for caring for our planet this Earth Day!

ED poster 1

Recce at Tanah Merah 7 reveals a heavy trash load on the high shoreline

24 Feb 2015 – A recce was conducted in preparation for the Chinese New Year Coastal Cleanup by Ridge View Residential College (RVRC) students taking GEM1917 – Understanding And Critiquing Sustainability.

As we left Tanah Merry Ferry Terminal and entered State Land, the beach appeared rather clean. Had NEA cleaners been hard at work here after the September cleanup for ICCS?


A seemingly clean beach with tiny balls of sand created by the Sand Bubbler Crab

The trash revealed itself to us slowly, as we walked further away from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.

IMG_1806  IMG_1808IMG_1811  IMG_1820IMG_1822  IMG_1836IMG_1845IMG_1915  IMG_1924 IMG_1925  IMG_1972IMG_1848  IMG_1849   IMG_1851   IMG_1859

And at the high shoreline, the accumulated trash among the vegetation:

 2015-02-24 09.38.45  2015-02-24 09.38.28

2015-02-24 09.39.06

Barnacles growing on the surface of a discarded container: IMG_2008

There was still signs of life at the beach! We saw many holes in the ground (homes of crabs), acorn worm poop, moths and herons.

IMG_1793  IMG_1794  IMG_1798  IMG_1955IMG_2002  IMG_2020

 Not all hope is lost!

IMG_1863  IMG_1866

It’s TIME to STEP up in preserving our marine life!

All the photos on Flickr.

Year-Round Cleanup – Nestle R&D Singapore team-building coastal cleanup exercise spends three hours at ECP (16th July 2012)

While we gear up for the annual International Coastal Cleanup Singapore, it is good to be reminded that year-round cleanups of our shores can and should be conducted for at any time of the year.

Groups may do this for a variety of reasons – to help relieve the marine environment of the its burden of trash, introduce colleagues to beach cleanups or even as part of a team-building exercise.

In July the year, Nestle R&D Singapore Team successfully conducted a year-round beach cleanup at East Coast Park as part of their team-building session in the afternoon of Monday, 16th July 2012.


Ignoring the rain, the team of 17 people worked hard to clear the trash off East Coast Park beach, a heavily utilised public beach for THREE hours! We really love how enthusiastic everyone looks in picking up inorganic trash found near the beach!


Check out the smiles on the volunteers’ faces! I am sure everyone had lots of fun during the activity as well!


The day’s effort amounted to 90kg of trash from a 3 – 4 km stretch of East Coast Park. The team identified some unusual items – sacks, car batteries and even a saw lying on the beach.

However, the bulk of the trash on the shore were single-use plastic items – food containers, plastic bottles and styrofoam. These items are commonly found on our shores and at beaches like these, are usually left behind by recreational users. They feature on the  top 10 list of items found on our coastline every year and is a strong reminder about the ordinary ways in which we pollute the sea.


Lovely job, Nestle R&D Singapore! It’s a good example for other groups who might be thinking about what to do. We appreciate your effort in caring of the environment and making our shores a better place for its denizens!

Special thanks to Karmela Anna Keh for keeping us updated and arranging to share photos of the cleanup with us!

Join us in our First Year-round Cleanup at Tanah Merah!

Following up from our previous call for volunteers to help manage cleanups at Tanah Merah and our subsequent meeting at the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre, the volunteer Site Buddies are getting the action going!

Site Buddy Gladys Chua has put out a call for interested members of the public to volunteer some of their Saturday morning time to cleanup up the beach at Tanah Merah.

First year-round cleanup @ Tanah Merah
Date: 11 February 201
Time: 8.00am to 10.00am
Venue: Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal Departure Hall entrance/exit [ See map  for more details ] 

Gladys has put up a really comprehensive post detailing what the objectives are, the attire you should wear, items you should bring and how you can get there by public transport. Interested volunteers can register their interest by filling up the form on her blog!


We hope to see you at Tanah Merah on 11 February 2012!

1,208 plastic bottles at the first ICCS @ Sungei Seletar

18 Sep 2010 – Under a blistering hot sun, the first international coastal cleanup was conducted at Sungei Seletar. The volunteers who tackled this beach/mangrove shore were from Pei Hwa Secondary School’s NPCC & NCC units and the Australian International School. Well there was one more person – Independent sign-up Michael Wolstencroft, for whom the cleanup at Pasir Ris last week was merely an appetiser!

Screen shot 2015-03-19 at PM 01.49.29

At Sungei Seletar Site 1, Pei Hwa collected around 370kg of trash and topping their list of items was 940 plastic beverage bottles (less than 2 litres) contributing to a total at both sites of 1,208! Michael alone was able to collect 80 bottles in addition to a bi-fold door and a fishing net!


The Australian International School who cleared a further 140kg of trash picked up a bowling ball – this was classified under “toy”; surely, no one was bowling along the beach! Oh and two car accumulators.

It was a tiring effort this last Saturday, but it was good to see a job done well. We are really glad the first dent has been made of the accumulated trash and we look forward to future cleanups at Sungei Seletar!

Lim Chen Kee,
Deputy Zone Captain,
ICCS Northeast Zone

From Student Participant to Volunteer Site Captain

Data cards? Checked. Gloves? Checked. Transport arrangements? Checked.  I was going through my checklist, determined not to make a fool out of myself in front of 30 ICCS volunteers from the European Union and NUS University Scholars Programme the next morning.

Having volunteered with Toddycats (nature and environment volunteers with the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, NUS) at Pandan and Lim Chu Kang Mangroves, and with Nature Society Singapore at Kranji Mudflats, I was now roped in to take on a larger role in one of Singapore’s largest environmental conservation programmes – International Coastal Cleanup Singapore.

It was not just about picking up marine trash anymore. It was about taking the driver’s seat (ok maybe not that of an 80-seater coach); organizing, communicating and executing. The cleanup site (Pulau Ubin Ketam Beach 3) was recced about a week before to ensure that every possible glitch could be avoided.

But of course plans are seldom carried out seamlessly. I was greeted with an enthusiastic bunch of participants and everything went smoothly until a minor hiccup during the briefing at our cleanup site. I did not brief the participants adequately enough to hold their attention for long (or they were just too excited to start the cleanup!). Fortunately, Siva’s (ICCS coordinator) timely interjections made my first experience as site captain a great one.

‘Oops..did I miss something out?’

Everyone went home with bright smiles on their faces knowing that they did something for their environment. And you know it is a decent first job done when you receive an email from one of the volunteers after the cleanup saying ‘Thanks so much for babysitting us, and for being such a great site captain! :)’.


Trina Chua
Site Captain, Ketam Beach 3
ICCS Ubin West Zone

Cheery Thomson Reuters @ religious Selimang!

This is the first year Thomson Reuters took part in ICCS – 17 participants led by an experienced leader.  They came prepared with tongs and gloves and after an on-site briefing by LK, worked efficiently in groups of 2-3 under the blistering hot sun.

There were a few interesting finds such as a chipped porcelain buddha statue, spongbob squarepant figurine, helmet and a plastic tubing which resembled a snake!

Spongebob Squarepants!

The man and his helmetdsc03541
The snaky plastic tubing!

LK suggested that Selimang was a popular site for Chinese religious rites. During the cleanup, the group encountered lots of offerings, floating lanterns and large burnt patches. It also seemed to be a dumping ground for discarded religious statues.

There is also evidence that campers frequent this area for they found discarded fishing nets, fishing lines and lots of food wrappers.

The cheery spirit I witnessed today was admirable. In addition, I am heartened as LK took the effort of asking her group to bring plastic bags for trash collection. Cheers to all the participants from Thomson Reuters!

What’s a cleanup without a group photo?

Cheong Wei Siong
Deputy Zone Captain,
ICCS Northeast Zone

Squeaky clean, yet Punggol awakens Fatin of Pei Hwa

Punggol is a site full of surprises. There are development plans for Punggol and construction works have been conducted along the coast of Punggol beach for quite some time — we are faced with the uncertainty that they might cordon off a certain part of the beach to facilitate their construction during the cleanup. As a result, as with every other shoreline in Singapore, we are careful to check each site and last August, I went for a recce with Pei Hwa Secondary School’s Organiser.

On the morning of the ICC Singapore cleanup, the site had not changed much– the Police Coast Guard were  still sipping their kopi and reading the newspaper when ICCS participants at this site, Secondary 1 students from Pei Hwa Secondary School, trudged in and began working under the sweltering hot sun.

The coast was actually rather clean and there was not a significant amount of trash. When I asked them what was the most peculiar item found, the participants were split between the oil drum and a shuttercock. Puzzled, I asked them “why shuttlecock?”A few of them responded ‘weird to play on the beach’, while one cleverly pointed out that it might be a recreational activity for the construction workers!

55' Gal Drum

When asked about the cleanup, one participant Fatin, said “(I felt that) the litter which Singaporean left behind on the beach is quite saddening, as it may affect the marine animals and if it continues, there would not be any marine animals left in Singapore.”

It was heartening to see each and every one of the students putting in an effort for the cleanup. And if all of them grasped the issue as a result of their experience as Fatin did, the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore is certainly achieving much more than the collection of data for the marine debris index.

The whole team!

Cheong Wei Siong
Deputy Zone Captain,
ICCS Northeast Zone

A Penny of My Thoughts: the Pasir Ris Beach 6 cleanup with the “Independents”

It is dawn over Pasir Ris. We must be early as we are racing against the tide. Pasir Ris Beach 6 (a.k.a No Man’s Land) will disappear under the rising seas by 11am.

Beach 6 is “No Man’s Land” not because no one is visiting it. But rather, no one is looking after it – even the few who visit do not take care of it.

Trash, mostly plastic bags and food wrappers, are scattered all over the beach and buried beneath a thin layer of sand. It is astounding to see such an amount! I wonder what it will take for visitors to the beach to bring their trash out to nearest bin, a minute’s walk away. Or for people on the adjacent lands to bin their trash instead of letting is fly away into adjacent waters.

My spirits were uplifted by the excellent job done by the Independent Sign-ups. Many thanks to Valerie, Jyothi, Subbiah, Boon Wee, Mindy, Mike, Swee Gek, Vivien, Yi Yong, Nicole, Pei Ern, Jia Hui, Jasmine, Sim Hong, Noemie, Heather, Anand, Kiat and Emma – they bent their backs with volunteers around the world to do their part for the planet!

The 21 of us collect, categorised and removed 360kg of debris in two hours. We did our best and know that we contributed to efforts to conserve marine life.

The site was just too dirty for us to finish. Even as we left, yet another plastic bottle floated in with the tide……

But we will be back, with even more help, once again.

Lim Chen Kee
Deputy Zone Captain,
ICCS Northeast Zone

[Ed’s note – Independents are individuals who sign up on their own, without an organisation and with little prompting for an event without fanfare, goodie bags, t-shirts or souvenirs and with only the promise of hard work and the satisfaction of their contribution. The ICCS Otters have a special affection for these individuals who find us each year, from all walks of life, to pitch in for a morning’s work.]