Year-Round Coastal Cleanup – BASF remove 147kg of trash @ Changi Beach (28 May 2015)

28 May 2015 – Yoko Koike, Communications Manager of Petrochemicals Asia Pacific reports,

“A team from the Petrochemicals Division at BASF South East Asia Pte. Ltd. volunteered to clean up the Changi Beach Park under the Year-Round Coastal Cleanup (YRCC) program. The team collected a total of 147 kg trash along the 1 km coastline.

Considering that this is a recreational beach, the amount of trash was much more than what the participants had anticipated. The largest and quite unexpected item found was a mooring line which took three people to pull along to the Trash Collection Point.”

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“The cleanup activity and the discussion focused on marine litter and helped raise the awareness about the global issue of marine littering and waste management among the group. Participants agreed that our effort that may seem small, but can make a difference when it comes to creating a sustainable future collectively.”

Congratulations to the BASF team on your effort for the environment and Organisers Yoko Koike and Evelyn Ong who efficiently organised the cleanup!

ICCS Changi 2011: A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed

“Can you help me print 3 copies of the data card before you come down!” – I hollered over the phone to my primary school friend I had shanghai-ed as an ICCS Site Buddy, Dennis Chew.

Yes, I confess – yours truly, the Changi Zone Captain, had brought the gloves, trash bags, weighing scales and pens for the Independent Volunteers but forgot about the all-important Data Card!

So even as my dear friend Dennis was about to head out to pick me up, I was asking him to return home to print Data Cards!

After a mad rush of 30 minutes, we arrived on time at Changi Carpark 6 to start ICCS. Phew!! We did pay a price – we had to abandon our hot and eagerly anticipated Changi Village breakfast!

Some of the Independents were already waiting for us – a group PSB Academy students from Korea, China and Singapore. Too late to sign up as an independent group, we had invited them to sign up as Independents @ Changi instead.

Hardworking independents

Their site was not an easy one – I had allocated them Changi Site 3 which has a higher trash load than Sites 1 or 2 and is less accessible – the nearest bus stop is a 10-minute walk away. But here they were, bright and chirpy.

I set my trusty site buddy Dennis to work with the Independents and headed out to drop in on various groups.

My first stop was Compassvale Secondary led by Mrs Winnie Lim where I kicked-off their cleanup with a briefing. Some students were bleary-eyed but I piqued their attention by asking “Why are you here to clean the beach? This is a recreational beach cleaned by contract workers who do a much better job on a daily basis!”

Yup, that’s right. At recreational beaches like this one, the main objective of ICCS is the data collection aspect which helps all of us understand the trash profile on the shore. With the objective realised, I felt confident as I left them to the trash and data collection.

After dropping in to meet the hardworking Girl Guides Singapore (South Division c/o Queensway Girl Guides) and Baxter Bioscience, I then called up my chauffeur to drive me to Changi Sites 1 and 2.

That’s right – my chauffeur! Who was none other than my dear site buddy and good friend, Dennis Chew. So for the rest of the morning, he drove me around and accompanied me as if we were on a campaign trail – visiting groups, talking to Organisers and participants and finally collecting their votes.. erm.. I meant consolidated Data Cards.

I did not manage to visit some groups but they were doing great – such as Dow Chemical Pacific (Singapore) Pte Ltd led by Linda Lim. She texted me when she arrived and submitted the data all typed in excel that afternoon; great job!

It was cool to see Black & Veatch (SEA) Pte Ltd led by Chen Feng who were all togged out in an event T-shirt. Catrin Huxtable was leading the Australian International School Singapore, and they were thorough, picking up small lumps of crude oil probably left over from the oil spill last May.

Our final stop on the campaign trail was to debrief one corporate group. With one of their top trash items being plastic containers, I compared the disposable plastic water bottle Organisers had provided to volunteers and the reusable Camelbak water bottle one of the company staff was drinking from.

Yup, it is that simple. With ICCS data pointing to the prevalence of single-use plastics reaching our beaches, we emphasise many ways to combat this – responsible disposal of trash, less use of resources or the use of biodegradeable material. But the most effective method is to avoid the use of plastic disposables in the first place!

Easily available now are reusable water bottles, carrier bags, tupperwares and the like. With reducing disposables being the most effective strategy, it is no wonder that “Reduce” leads the way in the 3Rs.

If you wonder if washing a reusable bottles will use more resources such as water and detergent as compared to disposables, check out this ecological intelligence article by the author of Emotional intelligence, Daniel Goleman in New York Times.

“Reusing” is a concept not only for daily necessities but for friends as well. Hmm, I wonder if I can I use my friend Dennis again at next year’s ICCS!

See you at the beach, everyone!

1,263 styrofoam pieces, 610 cigarette butts and 0 sunburns – Northland Primary @ Changi Beach 1

[Ed’s note – Northland is the only primary school participant at ICCS, and this is their third year at Changi Beach]

18 Sep 2010 – “Tiring… but it’s a meaningful activity,” was the consensus among the 37 teachers, pupils and parent volunteers of Northland Primary School who were involved in the ICCS 2010.

Scattered all over Changi Beach Site 1 were pieces of styrofoam, cigarette butts, plastic wrappers and bottle caps. And that’s just to name only a few of what we had found today! Spurred on by the enthusiasm of the young children, teachers and parent volunteers worked even harder to pick up all the rubbish that they could see on the beach.

Many thanks to all the teachers, pupils and parent volunteers who woke up early on a Saturday morning to clear the beach under the blazing hot sun. A volunteer said, “I’m just glad that we could do our part for marine life and the environment.”

Hoe Kexin,
Teacher, Northland Primary School

Trash busters at Changi Beach Sites 3 and 4

18 Sep 2010 – This year I coordinated the Changi Zone with veteran Kok Oi Yee in support. As with all other ICCS coordinators, we joined the volunteers in action on the morning of the cleanup before returning with the data that afternoon for data entry, verification and submission.

A peaceful, ‘sleeping’ Changi Beach Site 3 was gently roused to life by the morning sun and the chattering of a small group of ICCS participants from FMC Technologies. Undeterred by the size of their site, the volunteers tackled their cleanup with tenacity.

Wrestling with trash
Wrestling with trash

A short while later, the students and teachers from ITE College East Nursing and Electrical Engineering joined them at the site. These boisterous and enthusiastic youth turned the beach into a vivacious and bustling cleanup site. They were quickly organised and started in no time.    


Unity is strength
 

 


Reusing plastic bags from home to collect marne trash!


Finally, everything was weighed and data collated.

The final verdict – The FMC volunteers collected 1,734 items of marine debris weighing 82 kg with just 15 participants! And ITE Collge East Electrical and Nursing collected 2,535 items (46 kg) and 1,121 items (56 kg) respectively. Well done!! 🙂  

Over at Changi Beach Site 4, the Queensway Sec Girl Guides showed their zest in doing their part for the environment as well collecting 3,376 pieces of marine debris, half of it styrofoam. 


Meticulous data recording

The other participants at Changi Beach Site 4 that morning whom I did not catch in action (Changi’s beaches are quite long!) were MEWR, Eco Leadership, NPCC HQ and NTU Earthlink. They all submitted their data promptly which is a great hallmark of the Singapore Organisers.


Happy participants from MEWR


Coastal cleanup is an activity for all ages. 

By the end of the event, the sweaty and hot participants left Changi Beach with smiles of triumph and satisfaction. 🙂  As I did – good job everyone!

Teo Kah Ming
Zone Captain,
ICCS Changi Zone

Recce for Changi and Tanah Merah on 22 May

22nd May, like another usual weekend days, was a busy day for the Eastern coastline of Singapore. The hustle and bustle of Changi Beach Carpark 1 welcomed Connie and me when we arrived. Apart from the tinkling bells of bicycles and boisterous talks from the beach-goers, the gay atmosphere was also filled with an exotic-sounding music from a Malay dance performance at one end of the beach, attracting crowds of curious onlookers. Connie and I, with the mission of recceing Changi and Tanah Merah, cycled around and only occasionally stopped to perambulate the seemingly clean shorelines and places inland to have a quick scan of the trash load and profile of Changi Beach. Here’re some trash we found.

 As expected, trash load at Changi Beach Park 1 & 2 (CP 1 to 5) is very low. Even for Changi Beach Park 3 & 4 (CP 6 & 7) where the trash load is higher, the type of trash is still fairly similar but in greater abundance. No daunting oil drums but just cigarette butts, broken Styrofoam pieces and plastic bottles.

                                      Trash at Changi Beach near Carpark 7

At Changi Beach Park 2, there was also some construction going on which is possibly to restore the shore.

From Changi Beach, we cycled to Tanah Merah to have a quick survey before the sun set. While Tanah Merah 1 & 2 are quite clean, Tanah Merah 5 and 6 are very filthy indeed. (See pic below) Unlike Chang Beach 1 & 2, these places don’t have frequent cleaning by contractors.

Filthy as they are, Tanah Merah still exudes beauty such that couples like the one in the picture below still come here and have their wedding pictures shot.

Also at Tanah Merah, we came upon the route which was used for Passion Run on that day and were suddenly inundated by runners in bright yellow.

This was just a snapshot of a day in a year of our Eastern coastline. With so many activities going on, it’s not difficult to imagine that a lot of trash is generated and being littered at the beach. While easy sites such as Changi Beach which do not yield magnificent results in terms of weight of trash or exotic trash as mangrove sites, they are important sites to us for the data we obtain tells us that the marine trash in Singapore is not mainly coming from our neighbouring countries but perhaps from within, much to the contrary of what many Singaporeans believe.

Spring cleaning the homes of marine denizens @ Changi Beach 1

50 participants from Northland Primary School, Bioprocessing Technology Institute and Oil Spill Response arrived at Changi Beach Site 1, bright and early on Saturday, 19th September 2009. Rainclouds had started gathering but the gloomy sky did not dampen spirits as volunteers merrily chattered. And a short briefing got the merry crew ready for a “spring cleaning”!

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As we began, a family of four at the beach observed us and decided to join in! They were kitted out with extra gloves from Oil Spill Response and a data card and that lowered the youngest age of our group to only three and a half years old!

Our youngest Captain Planet at work in saving the Earth! See how meticulous she is.

Our youngest Captain Planet at work in saving the Earth! See how meticulous she is!

Andrew Tay, a veteran Site Buddy with the ICCS came once more to guide Northland Primary in their cleanup. As they worked on Changi beach, he filled them in on the status of marine trash in Singapore and how it affects the marine environment and marine life. The students were asking questions throughout and enjoyed Andrew’s stories!

"May I ask you a question??"

"May I ask you a question??"

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Even though everyone was enjoying themselves from the fulfilling work, it began drizzling an hour into the cleanup and most then headed for the shelter and totalling up of numbers began.

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Although the cleanup stopped short of the usual 90 mins due to rain, a considerable amount of trash was collected. The weight came up to 68 kg of trash and the most common items were cigarette butts and styrofoam pieces. We found a few odd things too – a tattered and thin mattress, some golf balls and a few table tennis balls.

Many participants felt that this had been an eye-opening experience. They were taken aback about the amount of trash they had encountered on a seemingly clean beach!

The trash that lies out there is innumerable and it is an impossible task to eliminate it all with a single cleanup. This exercise was primarily a data-gathering exercise and the effort was an important one in understanding the source of the problem.

There was also that sense of satisfaction when leaving Changi Beach that their efforts had Changi Beach a better place for our marine creatures to live in.

Northland Primary reflects on the International Coastal Cleanup [Ho Kexin]

Let’s Pick Up Rubbish!

On 19 September 2009, 7 teachers and 10 pupils from Northland Primary School did their part for the environment by collecting, categorising and disposing  litter at Changi Beach.

The amount of rubbish found on the beach and floating in the sea was astounding! We picked up items like styrofoam pieces, plastic bottles, cigarette butts, and even a plug and a slipper.

Picking up all this trash at the beach was pretty tedious but we left with smiles on our faces, hoping we had done our part to make it a cleaner place. It was a wonderful learning experience for all of us.

By Ho Kexin

See and download the full gallery on posterous
Posted via email from International Coastal Cleanup Singapore