Earth Day coastal cleanup @ Coney Island this Sat 22 Apr 2017 with Adrian, Jen & Beth!

Celebrate Earth Day (Sat 22 Apr 2017: 9.00am) with a coastal cleanup at Coney Island with Adrian, Jen & Beth! Meet them at the West Entrance, they will provide trash bag and gloves! Sign up at their registration page.

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Adrian, Jen & Beth and friends have tackled marine trash on the shores of Singapore by contributing to year-round coastal cleanups both as participants and organisers for several years now.

Having tackled marine trash at Sungei Seletar, Tanah Merah and Chek Jawa in previous years, they are heading to Coney Island this Earth Day as the marine trash situation there requires attention.

Thanks to NParks for providing trash bags and gloves, and coordinating trash removal after the cleanup!

Adrian & Beth featured in The Straits Times
for the World Wetlands Day coastal cleanup last February

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Earth Day celebrations – 144 volunteers remove 1,500kg of trash @ Pasir Ris Beach 6

Earth Day Poster

18 Apr 2015 – 144 individuals from all over Singapore hit the beach at Pasir Ris 6 to commemorate Earth Day with a coastal cleanup. Over a 350m of beach, volunteers removed more than 1,500kg of rubbish in 210 bags of trash! Good job folks!

The 144 volunteers comprised of Independents, schools and organisations. We were glad to see many familiar faces from our World Water Day Cleanup in March – Chee On, Liz and Petra are motivated individuals that regularly volunteer during our coastal cleanups! Quyen from our Chinese New Year Coastal Cleanup was another familiar face. The schools were American Centre for Education (ACE) led by Vernessa Chuah, Yuhua Secondary School led by Nicol Ee, and ACS Independent led by Timothy.

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Thanks to ICCS Photo Captain Kenneth Pinto for the photographs!

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The trash was dispersed throughout the 350m beach but the majority had accumulated at the western end in a “river of plastic”. Many of the Independents ventured here to tirelessly work at removing plastic and aluminium bags.

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Determined individuals hard at work at the western end of the beach.

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One of our youngest participants found a horseshoe crab trapped in a plastic bag and rescued it. Still moving, it made its way back into the water, hurray!

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After the trash collection, we weighed all the bags and formed a human chain to transport the trash bags from the beach to the Trash Disposal Point. NParks had kindly arranged for disposal subsequently.

Pasir Ris Beach 6 is located at the edge of state land beyond Pasir Ris Park. Not a recreational beach, it is not regularly cleaned and large amounts of trash can build up at certain times of the year. Regular cleanups by volunteers have kept the trash load manageable but it was impossible for 144 volunteers to clear the entire burden of trash in a single afternoon. We are definitely examining that trash profile and heading back soon for another coastal cleanup.

It was lovely to see volunteers working hard on a Saturday afternoon to make the Pasir Ris 6 a more hospitable beach for the marine critters there!

Until the next cleanup, Happy Earth Day everyone!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Itinerary 

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!

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The Earth Day Coastal Clean-up 2012: 106 clear 400kg but not in thunder, lightning or in rain!

On the 28th of April 2012, 106 volunteers headed down to Tanah Merah site 7 for the Earth Day coastal clean-up!

Pre-session group photo! | Photo credit: Benjamin Tan

Attendees include volunteer bodies from corporate groups, such as Gammon Construction Limited, SGCares, Standard Chartered, Starbucks, students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and independent sign-ups from the general public!

We’re really grateful for the relatively huge turnout! T’was really heartening.

Heading towards the halfway mark before dispatching to either ends of the beach | Photo credit: Benjamin Tan

Yiyong takes the session very, very seriously. | Photo credit: Xu Weiting

Yiyong reminds all volunteers to rehydrate during the session!

Volunteers manoeuvring through the vegetation along the higher strandline | Photo credit: Jocelyne Sze

Splitting up to look for trash | Photo credit: Benjamin Tan

Working together to remove bulky items | Photo credit: Benjamin Tan

Family bonding session! | Photo credit: Benjamin Tan

Determined to get some work done even as the rain clouds approached! | Photo credit: Jocelyne Sze

The weather wasn’t cooperating, unfortunately. Shortly after we’ve briefed the masses, dark clouds gathered, and the overcast sky loomed in the distance.

The impending rain wasn’t a concern for most; After all, we were dealing with groups of highly-motivated individuals. However, we do place our participants’ safety as the utmost priority.

Zone captain, Benjamin Tan, calling out to volunteers to head towards TMFT, in view of inclement weather

According to National Environment Agency (NEA),

Singapore has one of the highest rate of lightning activity in the world. Lying near the Equator, the weather is hot and humid almost all year round. Conditions are favourable for the development of lightning producing thunderstorm clouds. via

In fact, April and May are a few of the most lightning-prone months because of the intense inter-monsoon weather conditions.

Still unconvinced? Read: Lighting: the scariest encounter on the shore by Ria Tan (Founder of WildSingapore)

Minutes before it rained | Photo credit: Jocelyne Sze

The sky clears just as we called off the activity. | Photo credit: Jocelyne Sze

Zone captain, Benjamin, debriefs the masses | Photo credit: Jocelyne Sze

WHY ENGAGE IN YEAR-ROUND COASTAL CLEAN-UP EFFORTS?

To cater to interested groups of people who would like to be a part of this coastal clean-up initiative, but are unable to attend the annual ICCS in the month of September.

To raise the consumer awareness on the impact of litter in the marine environment, and clear marine litter (mostly recreational trash – e.g. plastic bottles/bags/wrappings/straws, styrofoam chunks etc.) which will otherwise remain circulating in the ecosystem, implicating wildlife (and eventually our lives).

To witness our rich inter-tidal biodiversity and marvel at their resilience (for surviving, if not thriving, despite the 2010 oil spill and ongoing development).

The substrate supports life, some invisible to the naked eye.

Mechanised beach cleaning equipment, such as the surf raker, disturbs the strandline habitat and eliminates vegetation. An obvious advantage manual beach cleaning has over mechanised beach cleaning, is the ability to differentiate natural and artificial items. Mechanise beach cleaning may also result in compacted beaches that are difficult or impossible to use for nesting, by creatures such as sea turtles.

A bazillion (Batillaria zonalis)

These guys are in abundance! They feed on microscopic algae and detritus. As such, their role in the environment is tremendous, as they act as ‘recyclers’ in the ecosystem, by feeding on decomposing matter.

Common sea stars (Archaster typicus)

Common sea stars used to occur in great numbers, but is now listed as ‘Vulnerable’ under the Red List of threatened animals in Singapore due to habitat loss, upon reclamation of land, and over-collection by beach-combers.

Corals are animals. Like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution.

Sharp-eyed Weiting spotted the Spotted Moon Crab (Ashtoret lunaris) in a sharp | Photo credit: Xu Weiting

Spotted Moon Crabs are relatively common on sandy shores, especially near seagrasses. Owing to their superb camouflage and shy nature, we tend to miss them when we visit the shores during the day. See this spectacular photo taken by Ria Tan, depicting what could possibly be two spotted moon crabs mating!

*Posed* Bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana)

Sea-land domination! This squid carcass was originally found in the waters, with two swimming crabs (each pinching on a tentacle, feeding probably). The ‘crabby’ party was spotted by Ivan Kwan. Upon closer inspection, we realised that some of the chromatophores were still active, implying that its death was rather recent!

A nerite snail

These eye-catching shells of nerites are more commonly found on rocky shores and mangroves. Similar in the appearance, you’d think that they’re all the same species of snail inhabiting varied outer shells. However, there are quite a few species of nerite snails found in Singapore, and you can actually distinguish some of them apart from the grooves on the underside of their shell. Learn to tell them apart, here!

Acorn worm cast

These casts comprise of processed sand, and are very commonly observed on shores. Acorn worms, themselves however, are rarely seen on land. As they are very vulnerable creatures, please avoid digging them up or attempt to handle any, if you’re lucky to see one emerging from the ground.

Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata)

Singapore‘s waters is home to 12 out of the 23 species of seagrasses found in the Indo-Pacific region. Seagrasses play a vital role in our ecosystem. Lush seagrass meadows provide food and shelter, serving as nurseries for many marine creatures in their juvenile stages.  Their establishment traps sediment in the water and confer a stabilising effect, alongside mangroves and corals. More about seagrasses here

SGCares hits the beach after the rain!

Many thanks to Andy Dinesh for helping us obtain the key to the sidegate, as well as liaising with NEA to coordinate trash collection at pre-designated trash pick-up points!

Loose ropes are potential threats to marine wildlife | Photo credit: Benjamin Tan

Removing sponge sheets with such glee! | Photo credits: Benjamin Tan

Kudos to them!

Here are some stats. to round off the Earth Day effort!

  • Time worked: ~15mins (106 people) + ~75mins (19 people)
  • Total weight cleared: ~240kg + ~160kg  = ~400kg (exclu. bulky items)
WHAT DID THE TRASH CONSTITUTE? 

Plastics dominated the trash gathered. They came in several forms, such as straws, packaging, bottles. Other trash constituents include styrofoam pieces, glass shards, a few syringes, ropes, fishing lines. It was also noted that a large fraction of the trash collected were tainted with oil.

Discarded insulin syringe

FIshing lines

Xu Weiting, ICCS Deputy Coordinator (previously Tanah Merah Zone Captain) | Photo credit: Benjamin Tan

Thank you all, for joining us in this Earth Day event. The session may have ended, but the effort doesn’t!

Share the experience with your friends and colleagues.

We’ll be holding the next clean-up in conjunction with World Oceans Day!

Do keep your Saturday (Jun 9) morning free!

Stalk this blog for updates!

Impressions from the community

Check out the rest of the photos on Flickr!

If you wish to share your photos with the community and want them in our Flickr repository, do refer to our FAQ for photo submission instructions

Earth Day celebrations – Sea Grass Angel Jocelyne Sze speaks at Queenstown Primary School!

As part of Earth Day celebrations this week, Jocelyne Sze the ICCS Manpower Captain aka “Sea Grass Angel”, spoke to students at Queenstown Primary School today.

She discovered for herself just how excitable primary school children every time we show them an animal from Singapore’s marine ecosystems! Their chatter is frenetic but it is exactly the effect we are hoping for!

Read about her experience on her blog at “Nature rambles“.

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Earth Day 2012 celebration by ICCS team:

  1. 19 Apr 2012 – “Earth Day celebrations by ICCS begin with Maxine Mowe delivering our talk, “Life and Trash in the Sea”” – link
  2. 20 Apr 2012 – “I Think, I Care, I Act – reflections from 15 years of battling marine trash in Singapore” – link
  3. 23 Apr 2012 – “Earth Day celebrations – Sea Grass Angel Jocelyne Sze speaks at Queenstown Primary School!” – (this post)
  4. 28 Apr 2012 – Earth Day Coastal Cleanup @ Tanah Merah – a call to Organisations to hit the beach on Sat 28 Apr 2012 – link – update: report

Zone Captains recce Tanah Merah for the Earth Day Cleanup

Earth Day is just round the corner!

In view of the upcoming cleanup at Tanah Merah on Apr 28th, 2012, Tanah Merah Zone captain: Benjamin Tan, Deputy Coordinator: Xu Weiting (formerly ICCS Tanah Merah Zone Captain) and I headed down to TM on the 14th of April to meet the organisers who will be involved in this Earth Day effort!

TM site 7 from a distance - A rather pleasant sight.

Sea view

A common sight - large cargo ships, tankers, ferries

After a slight delay, we finally set off to recce the beach!

Benjamin briefing the organisers before we set off!

Everyone listened intently as Benjamin spoke

Annie Layar, from Gammon Construction Limited (Singapore Branch), leading in the front!

Upon closer inspection of the beach, we noticed the following…

Littered with discarded bottles, glass pieces, styrofoam, packaging, and occasional balls of tar (remnants of the 2010 oil spill? See long-term effects of oil spill on marine life)

Exposed shore during low tide

The shore may seem bare, but the truth is far from it!

WildSingapore’s Tanah Merah marine life poster

Weiting holding the hermit for our friends to take a closer look!

These hermits are more active at night. Unlike true crabs with short calcified abdomens, hermit crabs’ abdomens are soft, long and curved. Because they lack their own hard shell, hermit crabs inhabit shells for protection against predation.

Me rambling on about hermit crabs and respecting wildlife

When a hermit crab outgrows its shell, it shops for another. They can be picky about the shells they choose. Witness the “Great Shell Exchange” as documented by Ria Tan on her blog.

Land Hermit Crabs are currently listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore. They used to be fairly common until, according to the Singapore Red Data Book, the implementation of many beach improvement schemes along recreational shores, which led to the clearance of ‘unsightly’ natural beach vegetation. Other factors that could have contributed to the decline of Land Hermits, especially on mainland Singapore, include the casual picking of shells by collectors as they strolled along beaches, as well as the pet trade.

Rare sighting of Land Hermit Crab in the day! (Coenobita violascens)

Read more about Hermit Crabs here and on Ria’s wonderful WildSingapore Factsheets!

A balloon cleverly disguised as Spongebob - Not a true sponge!

In other news, ill-disposed balloons, which eventually end up in our waters, are devastating to marine life! Like plastic bags and other discarded non-biodegradable trash, balloons can end up being ingested (albeit accidentally!) by turtles, and other marine life surrounding our waters AND those thousands of kilometres away. Yes, our disposable culture implicates life on a global scale!

One of many glass shards

Glass bottles in the midst of our marine life

During the recce, we saw quite a number of broken glass bottles, florescent tubes & other glass fragments. Do look out for these items and do not pick them up with your bare hands!

Slippers are not allowed

And for safety reasons, we’ll NOT allow volunteers to help if they are not wearing covered shoes.

Tread gently.

Make friends, not fiends!
During the beach cleanup, you may come across a myriad of seashore creatures. Please treat them with respect, and let us not forget that we’re the ones swinging by their neighbourhood!

Hitchhiking algae on a bazillion (Batillaria zonalis)

Just a mosaic of sand grains?

Sand bubbler art

Sand bubbler crabs are tiny and so well-camouflaged to its environment that we often miss them!

But just because we don’t see them, doesn’t mean they’re not there!

Sand bubbler crab (Scopimera sp.)

Their quality of life lies in our hands.

Going the distance

Independents, sign up today – get your friends to join you too!

Bring your own bottles of water!

Reducing is probably the most effective of all 5Rs! More

Help us get the message out!

Every day is Earth Day. Make a conscious effort to live more sustainably and Mother Earth thanks you!

Will you answer our call?

*Important Reminders*

We will be covering a long stretch of beach (approx. 1km) hence, there will not be a “base station” for personal belongings

  • Carry a small bag with face towel & sufficient drinking water (min. 1L)
  • Stay hydrated and rest well the night before
  • Sun block & insect repellent would be useful in this non-public beach

For answers to FAQs, do circulate this link http://tinyurl.com/yrcc-faq to your fellow friends & colleagues.

Feel free to contact Benjamin Tan and I, if you have any other queries that are not addressed:

Tanah Merah Zone Captain

Benjamin Tan

benjamin@loveretreats.sg

HP: 8318 8433

Tanah Merah Deputy Zone Captain

Gladys Chua

gca.ting@gmail.com

HP: 9689 7600

Sivasothi on “I Think, I Care, I Act – reflections from 15 years of battling marine trash in Singapore”

At 2pm today, I will give a talk in in conjunction with the second Youth for Environment Day (YED) for MOE schools. The talk will be held at one of four key satellite schools, ACS (Independent). In attendance will be some 400 students from participating schools.

The actual date of YED is Earth Day which is on 22 April 2012.

This is one of four events which Raffles Museum Toddycats are marking Earth Day with. Maxine Mowe, recovered from her sore thoat to speak at her alma mater on Wednesday. Jocelyne Sze will speak at Queenstown Primary on Monday and next Saturday is the Earth Day Cleanup at Tanah Merah.

I’ll have to sort out a new narrative for this talk in the morning. More emphasis on action in our daily life, for example, as that will tie in neatly to their workshops happening after the talk. Ria Tan of WildSingapore pointed them my way after her Green Drinks talk.


“I Think, I Care, I Act – reflections from 15 years of battling marine trash in Singapore”

N. Sivasothi aka Otterman
Coordinator,
International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

Abstract – biologist N. Sivasothi aka Otterman fell in love with the shores of Singapore which are home to amazing creatures like horseshoe crabs, mudskippers, monitor lizards, crocodiles, otters, turtles and dolphins. The trash on the shore was shocking and concerned, he began coordinating the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore.

Over a decade later with a dedicated team and the efforts of some 4,000 volunteers from more than 60 organisations and schools, the source of the problem is now also fought in our homes – the biggest culprit is single use disposable plastic and a lack of awareness about the impact of our lifestyle on every corner of this precious earth. “

Originally posted at Otterman speaks….