Glenn & Neil on Money FM89.3 asked about the phenomenal load of marine trash on the shores of East Coast Park

Glenn van Zutphen was horrified by the eyesore of marine trash on East Coast Park in late June (see the image he posted below). So Neil Humphreys roused me for a chat with the two of them on the Saturday morning after the elections:

Glenn van Zutphen and award-winning author Neil Humphreys speak to N. Sivasothi, Coordinator, International Coastal Cleanup Singapore, the National University of Singapore about the top coastal littering offenders, how tens of thousands of cigarette butts are injecting toxins into our very ecosystem, and what we can all make a huge difference in caring for our beaches and mangroves.

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Join us for a trial sampling of the NUS–NParks marine debris monitoring programme @ East Coast Park

Join us in a trial sampling of marine trash for the NUS–NParks marine debris research project at East Coast Park Area H, opposite National Service and Resort Country Club on 11 Nov 2017 (Sat), 8:30am – 11:00am!

Data on both macro-debris (>5 mm) and microplastics (1 – 5 mm) would be collected from 20 quadrats (2.5 m by 2.5 m) in a simple and systematic manner. Supplies such as trash bags, sieves and gloves would be provided. Your participation would help us improve our sampling method which would be used to establish the baseline data of marine trash in Singapore.

For more details and to sign up, visit the Eventbrite registration page!

ECP trash 2017


  • 8.30am (15 min) – Safety and procedure briefing. Apply insect repellent, and distribution of gloves and trash bags.
  • 8.45am (60 min) – Set up quadrats and begin macro-debris collection.
  • 9.45am (40 – 60 min) – End of macro-debris sampling; Distribute sieves and begin sampling of microplastics / Categorisation, counting and data recording of macro-debris.
  • 10.45am (15 min) – End of microplastics sampling and data recording; Transport of trash bags to Trash Disposal Point; Debrief
  • 11.00am – End of event

Things to note:

  1. Cleanup supplies such as gloves, trash bags, and weighing scales will be provided.
  2. You must wear hard-soled covered shoes or booties to protect your feet from hazards, else you won’t be able to participate in the sampling. Slippers and sandals are not allowed.
  3. A change of clothes is recommended after a sweaty workout.
  4. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites.
  5. We will continue the sampling in rain (bring rain gear) but cease if there is threat of lightning.

Things to bring:

  1. Water bottle (with at least one litre of water)
  2. Hat, sun block and/or insect repellent
  3. Reusable raincoat/poncho (we will work in light rain)
  4. Change of clothes for public transpor

Be prepared:

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a decent breakfast – It’s hard work!
  3. Be punctual as the tide waits for no one!
  4. Please read our advice to participants to prepare yourself for the sampling exercise!

Thank you for your interest and see you on the beach!


Rare coastal horseshoe crabs (Tachypleus gigas) badly entangled by discarded fishing lines at East Coast Park

5 July 2015 – I went down together with Jonathan Tan (Youth For Ecology), Sankar A. and Law Ingsind (Herpetological Society of Singapore HSS and NUS Toddycats) to check out the coral reefs of East Coast Park. The tide was to be at 0.0m at 7.00am that morning, and would reveal the reef and much marine life.

Coral reefs are diverse ecosystems comprising of coral colonies which host a large number of marine species. Despite a loss of some 65% of our reefs to land reclamation and coastal development, Singapore does have reefs left! But the pollution is a source of stress on these remaining patches. One of our first encounters on the shoreline were two of our rare coastal horseshoe crabs (Tachypleus gigas), badly entangled by a discarded fishing line.

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Removing the fishing line was tricky as the filaments had twisted into many complicated knots around the pincers. With patience, we did manage to free the precious horseshoe crabs.

In addition to the fishing line pollutions, six irresponsibly abandoned drift nets were found by the rock wall. These drift nets were extremely heavy, and over time had accumulated barnacles. We took great care when removing the nets.

Tachypleus gigas RiaTan
The coastal horseshoe crab, Tachypleus gigas, an endangered species in Singapore;
data deficient internationally. (Photo by Ria Tan)

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Left: One of the drift nets along the rock wall.
Right: A short stretch of beach polluted with plastic.

We were unprepared for the heavy load, so were only able to remove two nets before the tide rose. As we left, we hoped that unsuspecting marine life would not fall prey to this irresponsible ghost nets.

We had visited East Coast Park in the hope of examining the coral reefs, but instead spent most of our time removing nets and fishing lines which should not have been there in the first place. We hope people will realise that irresponsible habits – even littering in urban areas can affect our previous, surviving marine life.

Working together like this, we foster a keen sense of camaraderie and purpose. Even veteran ICCS Coordinator Sivasothi aka Otterman said he felt motivated by the purposeful action we took to protect marine life as our reports on Facebook reached a wider audience. As we work to figure out and implement upstream solutions as well, these encounters on the coast remind us that we are in the midst of a battle!

If you’d like to take an active role in tackling marine trash along our coastal habitats, join us for our National Day Coastal Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang!

Olympus Technologies Singapore Pte. Ltd Year Round Coastal Cleanup @ East Coast Park [30 Jan 2015]

On the 30th January 2015, a group of 37 volunteers from Olympus Technologies Singapore Pte. Ltd’s Environmental Program headed to the shores of East Coast Park, removing 55.6kg of marine trash over 1.5km of coastline. The 11 bags of trash were removed from the site, aiding marine life and improving the ambience of the beach.

Their debris summary reveals the various types of trash collected on the East Coast beach, with the most found items being cigarette butts (312 found) and plastic pieces (270 found).

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More details of trash they collected can be found HERE.


Thank you to Olympus Technologies Singapore Pte. Ltd. Environmental Program!


During their briefing session:

4During the cleanup: 5 6 7 8

Thank you for caring for our coastlines!

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!

Added Value Saffron Hill Beach year-round cleanup @ ECP, 12 Aug 2011

Added Value Saffron Hill Beach Clean-up, 12 Aug 2011

Added Value Saffron Hill Beach Clean-up.pptx

Added Value Saffron Hill conducted their beach cleanup in August, about a month before the ICCS. They certainly look happy – congratulations to Florence Leong and friends!

Cleanups before and after the ICCS are called Year-Round cleanups and no data cards are used. We do that the types of trash are examined and impressions recorded, and the trash weighed and reported back to us and recorded on this blog. Suggestions about how groups can go about organising a cleanup of their own are listed at

Get that gill net out of here!

Volunteers from ST Dynamics at East Coast Park Beach Site 1 encountered a fishing net buried in the sand and didn’t leave it there – they huffed and puffed and extracted the net, removed the entangled coral and disposed of it! Well done folks!

Complete album on Flickr – link.

Posted via email from International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

Early birds @ ECP

157 volunteers from ST Dynamics, Power Seraya, Singapore Polytechnic, Carlson Hotel, Victoria School, SATO International and Suvec sacrificed their sleep to gather at East Coast Park early in the morning for the International Coastal Cleanup.

Kudos to the students and teachers from Victoria School who were the early birds that started the cleanup at 7.30am.

Armed with gloves, tongs, trash bags and enthusiasm, the volunteers at each site separated into different teams to complete their mission. It is also a mini family outing for some parents who involved their cute children for this meaningful clean up activity. If kids can do it, so can you!

Cigarettes, styrofoam pieces were the most common debris found. Some of the volunteers found peculiar items like microphone, rubber mat, and a huge wooden plank that was the size of a car. In addition, a fishing net with a crab and corals entangled in it was discovered by the ST Dynamics’ volunteers.

Due to the heavy rain at 10.10am, all the volunteers have to stop their cleanup earlier and they proceeded to consolidate their data.

A big Thank You to all the volunteers who have helped out with the clean up at ECP!

By Cindy Wu,
ICCS Otters

Photos from East Coast Park And Changi

Photos from East Coast park from Zone Captain Vu Tinh Ky – see the flickr album.




More photos from Singapore Science Centre’s cleanup at Changi Beach – see the Flickr Album.

RGS data in from East Coast Park sites EC6-12

The Raffles Girls School Secondary 1 cohort has submitted their data for East Coast Sites 6-12. The organiser Mr Lim Er Yang submitted his excel sheet and their data report includes

  • 6,641 pieces of styrofoam,
  • 4,765 Cigarettes / Cigarette Filters
  • 2,047 food wrappers and containers
  • 1,534 straws and stirrers and
  • 1,009 pieces of Plastic sheeting / Tarps

Their comment:

“Styrofoam pieces and cigarette butts number as the most common pollutant on the beach, followed closely by plastic pieces. Pupils noted that recreational activities along East Coast Park encouraged human interaction with the sea and people simply litter out of convenience, even though litter bins are located close at hand.”