Litter turns wetland reserve into an eyesore
The Straits Times Forum 11 May 2012
“I VISITED Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on Sunday morning with my family. I had not been there for four years and was looking forward to enjoying the flora and fauna of this nature reserve.
While I was not disappointed in terms of the service (the woman at the visitor centre was friendly and helpful), I was quite aghast to see the amount of trash floating on the water – plastic bottles, styrofoam boxes and even a beach ball, which were really an eyesore.
A few times we thought we spotted some creatures in the water, but they turned out to be litter. I distinctly remember that on my last visit a few years ago, there was hardly any litter.”
Cindy Tan (Ms)
How NParks deals with flotsam at wetland reserve
The Straits Times Forum 15 May 2012
“WE THANK Ms Cindy Tan for her compliments about our service staff and her feedback (‘Litter turns wetland reserve into an eyesore’; last Friday). The litter Ms Tan saw in the waters surrounding Sungei Buloh was flotsam that gets carried into Sungei Buloh by the tides.
To keep flotsam away from Sungei Buloh, we have installed a boom at the mangrove boardwalk. Our contractor carries out daily cleaning. To supplement this, a number of corporations and schools have partnered us to carry out regular clean-ups of the coastal area.
The litter could have come from anywhere in the Straits of Johor. One source could be the drains and waterways around Sungei Buloh. To reduce the pollution from this source, we appeal to the public not to litter.”
Wong Tuan Wah
National Parks Board
Thanks to WildSingapore.
The Singapore American School’s Middle School students completed their annual Kranji mangrove cleanup in May this year. In September, they will participate n the annual ICCS cleanup as well. The school is a 20-veteran of the cleanup so we wanted to go down to speak to both middle and high schools this year.
Xu Weiting, the East Coast/Tanah Merah Zone Captain, was given the honour of conducting her maiden ICCS speech to this energetic and responsive audience. She is no stranger to addressing a large crowd, having presented at the Evening of Biodiversity on her work with common palm civets last year.
Weiting said that speaking to SAS was a heart-warming experience – the enthusiastic audience motivated their speaker as well!
Read Weiting’s account of preparation to delivery at the Raffles Museum Toddycats blog.
From my ringside seat, I was happy to say, “Well done Weiting!”
A few new sites new sites have been identified in the North-West Zone at Sarimbun, Lim Chu Kang and Kranji East mangrove. We will be shifting the groups who work at KR1-4 to these sites as NParks will be conducting works at the Kranji Nature Trail this year and perhaps introduce some new gung-ho teams to join the Singapore American School and NUS groups.
Ria Tan examined the Kranji East mangrove during her inter-tidal sojourns and posted an account on Wild Shores Singapore which doubles as a first recce for us – nature journals are invaluable; thanks Ria!
I will have to visit the site at some point with organisers. Meanwhile the other new sites in Sarimbun and Lim Chu Kang mangrove was examined last year. Photos are up on Flickr. Click the map below to view the sites. We will re-examine Mandai mangroves only later as there are safety and impact issues.
Nature Society (Singapore) and friends worked at Kranji Bund during the evening low tide on Sat 05 Sep 2009.
Miss Pegasus has an account of the cleanup (link) and the hearty sing-along session that they enjoyed after the session! She kept her grip on her camera and video-ed the session – plenty of energy these chaps after removing a considerable load of just over 600kg at the Kranji Bind mudflats! [Link to results]
The other group that hit the mangroves early on 5th September was Woodlands Ring Secondary at Sungei Loyang mangroves.
You can see all the participating groups, dates and sites here: http://iccs2009-status.rafflesmuseum.net/. The bookings for data-gathering at the coastline of Singapore was full up by June and we look forward to an effective data gathering exercise in the weeks ahead and I hope everyone has as hearty a time as these cheery folk!
The Kranji/Buloh mangrove cleanup 2008 was held at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR). The 265 participants for the cleanup come from National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore American School (SAS), and Emaar International School (EIS).
3.4 tonnes of trash was categorised and collected during the two-hour long cleanup. The most common items collected were plastic bags (10,375), straws (3,222) and styrofoam pieces (2,492) food wrappers (1,778). Typically, Kranji mangroves turned up a car and a van bumper amongst the 56 car parts.
The enthusiastic Singapore American School ventured deeper into the mangroves to remove historical trash from the site. The trash bags loaded up by the sites very quickly so our alert Trash Transfer Team activated immediately to start bringing the heavy to the final Trash Collection Point.
The coordinators from the National University of Singapore did a detailed job this year, allocating each of their many Site Buddies to pre-allocated groups of volunteers – whom they had called for a reminder about the meeting time in campus. The highly motivated participants were a mix of staff and students from the very large campus, and they worked alongside for the first time.
The trash transfer to the final bin point this year secured the services of the Sungeo Buloh Wetlands Reserve's pickup as the reserve's traditional super-trolley finaly broke down!
We left with high spirits, happy once again that we had chipped away at the influx of marine trash that threatens our precious mangroves.
Posted by email from International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (posterous)
Cheong Wei Siong & Wang Zhihong,
Site Coordinators, Buloh-Kranji mangrove,
International Coastal Cleanup Singapore
The Buloh-Kranji mangroves sites have been run since 1998 and an experienced team from NParks’ Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserves (SBWR), Singapore American School and ICCS Otters manage the site together with the now regular participation of NUS Staff and Students.
The sites KR1 and KR2 will be tackled whereas KR3 is relatively clean.
Cheong Wei Siong who is the Site Captain for Kranji, conducted a briefing with NParks’ Ramakrishnan Kolandavelu at SBWR on Saturday afternoon. They were assisted by ICCS Otter Ong Chee Ang. This briefing/recce session is specially conducted a week in advance and in the afternoon, so that the tide levels are similar to that of the event day.
Kranji regularly turns up a couple of tonnes of trash each year and after a decade, this should show signs of reducing.
They certainly took lots of photos – see Album 1 (183 photos) and Album 2 (171 photos) on Flickr! See the cleanup report for Kranji at the Kranji Mangrove results page.
Take a look at the last photo – an important ritual conducted every year by the NUS organisers (student volunteers from the Department of Environmental Engineering) is the cleaning and drying of the thick gloves used by participants during the cleanup. Yup, we ensure they are ready for use next year. Its possible when the gloves are well dried – else fungus will grow!
Ideally of course, each participant should turn in a clean and dry pair of gloves the following week, after a good washing and drying. But we aren’t that optimistic yet! For now at least, the NUS organisers get to be part an ICCS mangrove tradition dating back to 1997!