A beach littered with a “dandruff” of styrofoam – more from the Tanah Merah Chinese New Year Coastal Cleanup

My friend Catherine Yeo joined Ridge View Residential College students on their Chinese New Year Coastal Cleanup expedition and said:

“Watching the youngsters doing their bit for the environment in the sweltering heat, made me feel heartened.”

She did find the trash on the beach distressing though:

“The styrofoam ones were a distressing sight. They were mostly broken bits and pieces. And being white, they reminded me of dandruff. Have you ever … [seen] … dandruff stuck in between hair?”

Read her account at https://thiscatwritestoo.wordpress.com/.

Tanah Merah Coastal Cleanup | This Cat Writes Too

‘Reduce waste and still have an enjoyable holiday?’ Possible, says MNS Marine Group

The MNS Marine Group, Selangor Branch reflected on their waste generation after a recent underwater cleanup in Perhentian Islands.

MNS Marine Group, Selangor Branch: Dive against debris? Strive against debris!

“While it was very satisfying collecting loads of trash in the Dive against Debris activity during the June (1-4) MNS Marine Group trip to Perhentian Island, the cynical part of us feels this movement is really just another excuse to scuba dive, and create more debris!

Let’s examine our own creations, just for this trip itself. What did we bring and consume? Really, for an island holiday, all you need are t-shirt and shorts. But so subsumed are we in consumerism that, for us, a holiday is not complete without bags of potato chips, 3-in-1 coffee packets, snack-sized chocolate bars, sweets, biscuits …”

They go on to list a few simple solutions.

It is heartening to see them do a self-audit and make suggestions. We hope this will evolve to a environmental code of conduct and checklist for all such trips in future.

Similarly, we need reminders too. At the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore, we asked the 70+ Organisers who signed up between Mar-Jul a few questions about their preparations for the international event in September:

  1. Are you cleaning and re-using your gloves?
  2. Are you re-using other equipment such as tongs, clipboards and banners?
  3. Are you supplying participants with bottled water?
  4. If providing food, are recyclable plates and utensils being used?

It’s time to examine the answers to provide a report card, which we will circulate to Organisers. Then see if we can encourage better practises through suggestions.

Thanks for the reminder MNS Marine Group!

Ria writes, “Angry about litter on our shores? DO something!”

She includes photos of a sullied shore at Kranji East, which is just east of the mouth of the former Kranji River, now reservoir.

wild shores of singapore: Angry about litter on our shores? DO something!
Click for the article

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore: Zones & Sites - Google Maps
Click for the Kranji East shore location

World Oceans Day Cleanup 2012 – 75 clear 1.5 tonnes of trash in light rain!

To celebrate World Oceans Day 2012, ICCS conducted two beach coastal cleanups at Pasir Ris Site 6 (PR6) and Tanah Merah Site 7 (TM7) on the 9th June 2012! On this sleepy Saturday morning where the sky was overcast and with intermittent showers, 75 volunteers turned up to do their part for the marine environment!

At PR6, 50 volunteers turned up to help clear a non-recreational beach site and everyone worked hard to try to clear as much trash as they could within the 90 minutes. The NE zone captains (Kai Scene, Chen Kee & Yi Yong) recruited energetic PR6 volunteers from ACJC student council, general public who responded to the World Oceans Day cleanup post, SgCares and ICCS Otters (Kah Ming, Jocelyne, Marcus, Kelly & Weiting).

NE Zone Captain Kai Scene looking really happy at the wonderful 80% volunteer turnout rate!

After a full 90 minutes of cleanup, we had used up all of the 140 trash bags! The ICCS team then quickly organised the volunteers to form a human chain to transport the trash quickly and efficiently out to the collection point.

Participants form a human chain to transport out the numerous bags of trash.

Look at the amount of trash collected, a total of 1,100kg of trash removed!

All the trash was weighed and we removed a total of 1.1 tonnes of trash from the site! After 90 minutes of hard work, there was definitely a transformation from a trash-filled beach where food wrappers and plastic bags littered all over to a visibly cleaner PR6! Kudos to all PR 6 volunteers for your time and effort!

Over at TM7, even though the cleanup was delayed 30 minutes by the rain, 21 highly enthusiastic volunteers from SgCares, together with Ivan, Dinesh and Tanah Merah Zone Captains (Benjamin & Gladys) started at 9.30am to work the shores. Each volunteer had a trash bag in hand and off they went to remove any trash that they saw.

TM 7 volunteers help to remove sand from the interior of tire before moving to disposal point! (Photo from Benjamin Tan)

Even though, the TM7 were a smaller group of volunteers, they managed to remove 66 trash bags within 90 minutes. This amounted to an impressive 343kg of trash, excluding bulky items! Great job, TM7 volunteers!

TM7 volunteers bringing in the trash (Photo from Ivan Kwan)

Well done to all the volunteers who turned up for the two beach cleanups today! These efforts have made a difference to the marine environment. Do share your experience with your family and friends as part of the celebration for World Oceans Day. Spread the message and help protect our oceans!

See also Ivan <a href=”http://lazy-lizard-tales.blogspot.sg/2012/06/world-oceans-day-tanah-merah.html”>Kwan’s post</a>

Experience of a first time volunteer coordinator

Ching Yu hang is a first time volunteer coordinator and we are very proud that she has stepped forward to make a difference to the marine environment! Here she shares with us her first experience as a Volunteer Coordinator with the Tanah Merah team.

In the beginning…
34 people, from different walks of life.
90 mins of a Sunday morning.
A 250m stretch of coastal shoreline to be cleared.

On the morning of 11 February, 34 of us gathered at Tanah Merah (TM) Site 7 for a common goal. Though not everyone among the group knew one another, we  were all gathered and united with one vision – to do our part to conserve the biodiversity of the shoreline by a simple and manual act of clearing the trash accumulated at the coastline.

Armed with a pair of gloves, sunblock, insect repellent and a black trash bag, we were set to go!

A volunteer emptying the container of sand to return it to the beach where it is needed.

Volunteers in the shallows, picking up heavy and entangled trash from the water.

A dead flower crab, reminding us of the vulnerability of life on our shores.

The majority of the volunteers who came down that day were invited by the newly appointed Tanah Merah volunteer coordinators. They organised this cleanup with ICCS as a result ofa prior meeting to recruit new coordinators.

This journey was an entirely new experience to me. Although I had been a Site Buddy at Tanah Merah 8 and 9 with National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) during the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore 2011, the experiences were different in terms of who I interacted and worked with.

As a Site Buddy, I prepared the volunteers in advance for what to expect on the day of the cleanup. I briefed them on the main details through a briefing conducted at NVPC. When they of the coastal cleanup drew closer, Site Buddies remind volunteers about the meeting time and venue. Our interaction then was mainly with the volunteers and we were able to receive direct feedback and on ground comments about the event.

Volunteer Coordinators, however, work more closely with the core ICCS team and an Organiser. This time, we adopted the role of Organisers and met the ICCS earlier and they joined us for a recce trip of the site prior to the cleanup. They provided useful advise which shed light on how to coordinate a cleanup. Now that we are better informed and have executed a cleanup, we are confident about carrying out our role as volunteer coordinators in future.

The 11th February cleanup was a good gauge of our ability and readiness to take on our role as coordinators. We put into action what we learnt from the ICCS team and were able to better envisage the situation and by the time of the debrief, could identify real-life situations that could surface in future and how to respond to those.

Debrief after the cleanup as volunteers got to know more about the impact they just made

Group photo!

At the end…
340 KG of trash cleared
Millions of marine biodiversity life relieved
A sense of accomplishment achieved