First Meeting of the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore Zone Captains, 5th Apr 2017


The International Coastal Cleanup Singapore team met on the evening of 5th April 2017 at NUS DBS Life Sciences Lab 7 to discuss this year’s appointments and to confirm the 2017 calendar.

To catch the low tide, the main ICC cleanup dates are on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of September this year: Sat 09 Sep 2017 & Sat 23 Sep 2017. We will be confirming participation by last year’s Organisers this week and opening public registration by the end of the month.

The 2017 team thus far (pending confirmation of new recruits) are:

  • Coordinator – N. Sivasothi
  • Dy Coordinator (Data) – Airani S
  • Dy Coordinator (Manpower) – Joleen Chan
  • Zone Captain, North-West – Adriane Lee
  • Zone Captain, North-East – Chua Siew Chin & Joys Tan
  • Zone Captain, Pulau Ubin – Tan Chia Wu & Li Yufu
  • Zone Captain, Changi & ECP – Airani S
  • Zone Captain, Tanah Merah – Joleen Chan
  • Zone Captain, South – Lim Cheng Puay
  • Site Captain, NW – Germaine Leng
  • Site Captain, NE – Ng Kai Scene
  • Site Captain, Pulau Ubin – Teo Kah Ming
  • Photo Captain – Kenneth Pinto

More news soon!


First Meeting of the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore Zone Captains, 5th Apr 2017


The International Coastal Cleanup Singapore team met on the evening of 5th April 2017 at NUS DBS Life Sciences Lab 7 to discuss this year’s appointments and to confirm the 2017 calendar.

To catch the low tide, the main ICC cleanup dates are on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of September this year: Sat 09 Sep 2017 & Sat 23 Sep 2017. We will be confirming participation by last year’s Organisers this week and opening public registration by the end of the month.

The 2017 team thus far (pending confirmation of new recruits) are:

  • Coordinator – N. Sivasothi
  • Dy Coordinator (Data) – Airani S
  • Dy Coordinator (Manpower) – Joleen Chan
  • Zone Captain, North-West – Adriane Lee
  • Zone Captain, North-East – Chua Siew Chin & Joys Tan
  • Zone Captain, Pulau Ubin – Tan Chia Wu & Li Yufu
  • Zone Captain, Changi & ECP – Airani S
  • Zone Captain, Tanah Merah – Joleen Chan
  • Zone Captain, South – Lim Cheng Puay
  • Site Captain, NW – Germaine Leng
  • Site Captain, NE – Ng Kai Scene
  • Site Captain, Pulau Ubin – Teo Kah Ming
  • Photo Captain – Kenneth Pinto

More news soon!

ICCS 2015 Organisers’ Workshops: Why and how do we conduct coastal cleanups?

1 – 3 July 2015: 7.00pm-9.30pm @ NUS Faculty of Science Active Learning Room [S16-03] — 42 ICCS Organisers attended the 2015 workshops to learn more about why and how to organise coastal cleanups. Three consecutive nights of 150-min workshops conducted by 6–8 zone captains each night ensured small group interaction and adequate attention especially for the first-time organisers.

At the last Site Allocation Meeting (SAX3), ICCS Otters discussed the design of the workshop. N. Sivasothi aka Otterman reorganised workshop slides for brevity and adjusted session design to increase interaction. Zone Captains, some new at instruction, prepared their lesson plan based on this format to ready themselves for action! The workshop format also ensured Organisers had plenty of time to clarify queries.

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Each day began with an introduction into local marine biodiversity and the impact of marine trash. Despite a history of reclamation at out shores and a busy shipping port, Singapore has six different aquatic ecosystems and much marine life whic has survived this impact. Knowledge of our marine life motivates us to conduct coastal cleanups, as we realise otherwise that many animals such as sea turtles and horseshoe crabs ingest plastic, or get entangled in trash.

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Left: Sankar A, Ubin Zone Captain shares about the Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata).
Right: Joys Tan, Tanah Merah Zone Captain reveals what non-recreational beaches in Singapore actually look like.

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Left: Tan Chia Wu, Changi Zone Captain talks about the organisational process behind a conducting coastal cleanup.
Right: Airani S, Data Captain runs through the ICCS Data Card, familiarising everyone with the different categories.

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The group break-out sessions were extremely helpful, providing first-time organisers the opportunity to consult our Zone Captains, as well as the more experienced organisers who imparted useful advice!

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Our Zone Captains also role-played – here, they demonstrated the human-chain – an effective method in transferring heavy trash bags from the cleanup site to the Trash Collection Point (TCP).

We ended each day with a very important chapter – solutions for sustainability after the coastal cleanup. Cleanup events are very importantly about education. The exposure iotaof participants to the reality of marine trash must be coupled with useful ideas about daily life – thinking about the necessity of disposable water bottles or recycling.

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Next up for ICCS Organisers are their site recces. ICCS 2015 is picking up speed!

Site Allocation Exercise 1 – allocating organisations to ICCS 2015 sites!

Fri 24 Apr 2015: 7.00pm @ NUS Life Sciences Seminar Room 1 [S2-04] – The International Coastal Cleanup Coordinators conducted the first Site Allocation Exercise in preparation for ICCS 2015, which is scheduled for 19 Sep 2015.

Despite it being the week before final exams our undergraduate Zone Captains as Joys Tan and Joleen Chan (Tanah Merah), Tan Chia Wu (Changi) and Sean Yap (Pulau Ubin) were there for this important meeting, which lasted until 10.00pm.


Left: Northeast Zone Captains – Ng Kai Scene and Yang Yi Yong
Right: Changi Zone Captain – Tan Chia Wu and ICCS Intern – Becky Lee


Left: Northwest Zone Captains – Germaine Leng and Adriane Lee
Right: Pulau Ubin Zone Captains – Sean Yap, Sankar A. and Teo Kah Ming


Left: South Zone Captains – Lim Cheng Puay and Maludin Mohammed
Right: Tanah Merah Zone Captains – Joleen Chan and Joys Tan

An email to ICCS 2014 Organisers was sent in April, and 33 schools and organisations have responded. We allocated these returning groups to various coastal and mangrove sites all around Singapore based on their choices. As sites filled up (e.g. Northeast and East Coast zones are almost fully filled), Zone Captains had to look to sites outside their zones to allocate organisations. We ensured each group had an appropriate site to work on for their participants.

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At the end of the evening, 1,542 volunteers from more than 30 organisations are registered for ICCS 2015. Public registration was opened the following Monday (27 Mar 2015), and Site Allocation Exercise II will be conducted at the end of May. We will have one more round of Site Allocation at the end of June, after which the ICCS team will focus on the Organiser’s Workshop, joint recces, and year-round coastal cleanups (YRCCs).

We look forward to working with our Organisers for ICCS 2015!

The Earth Day Coastal Cleanup recce @ Pasir Ris Beach 6 – welcoming new volunteers!

12 Apr 2015 – NE Zone Captain Yi Yong and ICCS Intern Becky Lee welcomed four new ICCS Otters to our Earth Day recce at Pasir Ris Beach 6. These volunteers responded to the call for new volunteers issued in early March, and attended our our first meeting on 20 Mar 2015 to learn more about what we do in ICCS.

On the recce, they learnt about evaluating the trash load, identifying trash collection and disposal points and working out the risk and safety issues. It also gave us an opportunity focus to get to know each other better!

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Our new Otters! From left: Maludin (Deputy South Zone Captain), Elizabeth (Site Buddy), Hung (East Coast Zone Site Buddy), Fanghui (Site Buddy), with Yi Yong, our Northeast Zone Captain on the far right.

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Everyone was shocked by the amount of accumulated plastic, especially on the far end of the beach and on the high strandline. As we walked the 350m stretch of beach, Yi Yong shared his experiences of working this beach over the years and talked about many layers of trash that was still buried underneath the sand we were walking on. During the monsoon, high tide bring in higher amounts of flotsam which is dominated by plastic, styrofoam, and wood with sharp protruding nails.

In recreational beaches such as East Coast Park, trash is cleared daily by NEA workers below the strand line and sometimes twice daily! Above the strand line in these parks, NParks has workers tending to the cleanliness of our beaches. This is the reason why Singaporeans enjoy clean beaches! However Pasir Ris Beach 6 lies beyond the Pasir Ris Park area, so trash accumulates. This affects beaches around the world, even seemingly pristine tourist destinations such as Phuket.

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Amidst the trash of Pasir Ris Beach 6, marine life still persists. We were struck by the appearance of numerous horseshoe crab moults. These animals come form a line which has been present on the planet for more than 445 million years! Only four species are present worldwide and we are lucky to have two on our shores, the mangrove horseshoe crab (Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda) and the coastal horseshoe crab (Tachypleus gigas).

Seeing the moults on the beach are a reminder of the life our coastlines still do hold despite all that trash. This is an important part of our motivation for the cleanups – we want to make our shorelines a more habitable environment for marine life!

The recce not only familiarised our new volunteers with examples of local biodiversity, but the beach itself. This is an important part of an organiser’s preparation for conducting a coastal cleanup. On 18 Apr 2015, the Earth Day Coastal Cleanup was conducted with rousing success!

Thank you Maludin, Elizabeth, Fanghui and Hung for assisting the ICCS’ Earth Day operations, and we look forward to working with you all together as ICCS Otters!

Call for volunteer Site Captains to coordinate coastal cleanups in Singapore – deadline: 15 March 2015!

The volunteer coordinators of the International Coastal Cleanup in Singapore are conducting a recruitment exercise to search for motivated individuals who want to contribute to the betterment of the marine environment.

Volunteers will conduct evaluations of beaches and mangroves prior to cleanups, learn about marine life, liase with Organisers, help plan workshops, process data, conduct outreach activities as well as leading by example during beach and mangrove cleanups!

We are looking for Site Buddies and Site Captains who are able to commit to our 2015 Calendar of events. Check the full calendar of dates. If you fit the bill and can make the dates, sign up to join the ICCS Otters!


We are a dedicated team who have been coordinating the International Coastal Cleanup in Singapore for more than a decade. We work with Organisers from more than 60 organisations and institutions who lead some 4,000 volunteers to the beach and mangroves of Singapore in September, and with Organisers of Year-Round Coastal Cleanups.

We keep meetings and emails to a minimum in order to sustain this effort alongside our regular jobs long-term. So to work with us, you need to be responsive and dedicated. If unfamiliar, you will be introduced to our use of digital tools and field-preparation.

If you think this sounds like something you could do, we would be most happy to welcome you!

To join us, sign up here by 15 Mar 2015!

See you on the beach!



N. Sivasothi
International Coastal Cleanup Singapore
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
& Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore

What do ICCS Zone Captains do?

Shoreline recces

Workshop Tutorials
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Just a few meetings!
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ICCS Lecture dialogues

School Talks

Briefing volunteers

Coastal cleanup!

Getting stuck!

Every piece counts

Weighing trash

Feeling accomplished!

Washing gloves!

Data processing

Fellowship through year-round action
42_PreNatiDay_MangroveCleanup-04 aug2012[andydinesh]

ICCS Zone Captains plan for next week’s workshop

Zone Captains are great at the operational procedures necessary to organise an International Coastal Cleanup event. During the ICCS Workshops in July, they clarify burning questions Organisers ask in detail. this is also a time when they meet their Zone Captains with whom they will conduct recce in the weeks ahead before September.

This year the invitation emphasised new Organisers, to keep the number of participants low enough to ensure adequate attention for those who attend the sessions. Right now we have less than 12 Organisers per session, with 4-6 Zone Captains in attendance as instructors.

ICCS2014 Workshop_ Instructor preparation - Google Sheets

For the first time this year, ICCS Zone Captains will be conducting the workshop in its entirety. Three teams have formed to cater to three days of workshops. They have a central syllabus but will plot a lively agenda for each day. New ideas have emerged to enhance communication and I am looking forward to seeing the new techniques to enhance Organiser preparation for a safe and efficient cleanup this year!






Album on Flickr.

ICCS 2013 preparations begin!

Preparations for the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup Singapore have begun! This will be the 22nd year of the programme and my 17th year coordinating coastal cleanups. Thankfully, some of the Zone Captains are decade-long veterans so it is an experienced team which is working with me.

An exhausting 2012 had many lessons
Last year, more than 3,500 volunteers from almost 80 organisations participated in the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore. They removed, categorised and counted 173,574 items of marine trash from almost 20km of shoreline. In just 90 minutes at the beach, volunteers put all this away in 2,880 trash bags weighing about 20 tonnes.

It is certainly a robust programme but with more new organisations joining in, it has required lots of energy and attention,and a strain on the volunteer coordinating team. So I’ve tweaked the way we will work this year.

Zone Captains and the ICCS date for 2013
I met Zone Captains yesterday and confirmed their renewed appointments (webpage updated). We are short of a few good hearts so the responsibility of recruitment has been highlighted. We have since been able to rope in a few people!

The cleanup date was confrmed and the good news is the official third Saturday of September coincides with a good pair of low tides. The (Sembawang) tides are:

  • 0557- 0.62m
  • 1238 – 3.25m
  • 1811- 0.48m

Sites such as PR6 and TM7 for which a very low tide is preferable, will be run in the afternoon when the tide is lower and receding., which is safer.

The ICCS 2013 Calendar
The calendar for 2013 was confirmed and now reads as follows:

  • Fri 01 Feb 2013 – Planning (ICCS Otters only)
  • Mon 18 Feb 2013 (after CNY) – recruitment and registration begins, announced on this blog and the ICCS mailing list (sign up to stay informed)
  • Fri 22 Mar 2013 – Site Allocation Exercise (ICCS Otters only): Review registrations and confirm site allocations
  • Fri 28 Jun 2013 – Workshop Prep & Site Allocation Exercise II (ICCS Otters only)
  • Wed 03 – Fri 05 Jul 2013 – Workshop Sessions 1-3: 7.00 – 9.00pm (with Organisers): training and consultation
  • Sat 27 Jul 2013 – Joint Site Recces (With Organisers at difficult sites)
  • Sat 03 Aug 2013 – ICCS Lecture (With Participants and Public)
  • Sat 10 Aug 2013 – National Day Cleanup (With Public)
  • Sat 21 Sep 2013 – ICCS (0557- 0.62m; 1811- 0.48m) (With Participants)

Operational changes based on our 2012 review was implemented, as follows:

Registration and Site Allocation

Registration will be a month-long exercise from mid-February. Site Allocation will only be announced a month after registration is open, in late-March, after a Site Allocation Exercise which we can complete in a single night.

ICCS Workshop Series

The workshop this year will focus only the problem of marine trash, operations and safety.

We will offer three weekday night sessions of two hours each instead of a single Saturday morning session in order to save everyone their Saturday!

The sessions will conducted in small groups to allow for greater interaction and questions.

Site Recces and Site Recce Reports

Site recces will only be offered to Organisers at tough sites. A single date will be offered to Organisers at these sites and is a low tide Saturday in July.

For most sites, Organisers will be able to consult adequate resources to prepare them for their recces – Site Recce Reports, photo albums of previous cleanups, marine trash data from previous years, and blog accounts.

Organiser’s responsibilities

Organisers will be strongly reminded that they are responsible for conducting their own site recces, and are responsible for their participants safety.

As usual, they will be provided the advise about operational points to take note of during site recces and be provided a risk assessment form to use.

Zone Captains conduct preliminary recces during the first half of the year in order to update their Site Recce Reports. After that time, beaches may be closed at the last moment for works or other matters, so it is up to Organisers to be updated and not be caught by surprise at a beach closure!

What about Marine Life?

The introduction to marine life lecture will be addressed only during the ICCS Lecture. This annual event will once again be offered to the public as well.

Prior to that the marine life powerpoint and various compiled videos will be made available to Organisers. Actually these are already available.

Site Buddies’ Lecture and Cleanup in August

The date of the ICCS lecture has been brought forward and will be conducted before the National Day cleanup. As a pair, these can be offered to the volunteer Site Buddies as training for the September cleanups.

Changes for the better
Operationally, ICCS was very demanding last year as the number of organisations is at its highest for all time. With many new Organisers, the work load becomes too heavy. And Corporate groups tend to change organisers every year and many fail to pass on their experience!

So when we evaluated matters last October, we were keen to implement changes. As it turns out typically, these changes will benefit Organisers too. Keeping matters simple and to the point will provide relief especially to first timers.

Half-hearted Organisers will be dropped quickly and early. I’d rather see participant numbers drop than be burdened by the ill-prepared. I also have little patience for “greenwashing“.

Organisers need to invest a certain amount of effort as participant safety and awareness is critical during a cleanup. We have made preparations easy with online materials as well as dates to meet us and tap our experience during the workshop, lecture and recce.

We are here to help Organisers conduct a safe, efficient and meaningful coastal cleanup. While spurred by the catastrophic pressures our marine life faces, our spirits are buoyed every year by passionate, dedicated Organisers who apply themselves.

Time spent with such individuals has been a joy indeed, and we look forward to meeting more of them once again this year!

Where is biodiversity in Singapore?

Surely not in these Singapore dollar notes which ICCS Otters Yi Yong and Kah Ming are examining so intently?

ICCS Otters looking at dollar notes

These coastal cleanup volunteers are at a training session for Raffles Museum Toddycats, the parent organisation of the ICCS Otters. Volunteers have been busy preparing for the Festival of Biodiversity to be held at the Singapore Botanic Gardens on 26-27 May 2012; see updates at

The Festival promises to be the biggest celebration of Singapore’s biodiversity in the calendar and has a wonderful array of activities lined up. We are motivated to help the public find out just where biodiversity is in Singapore and what it looks like.

The festival is organised by NParks and the natural history community who have come together formally (for once) to engage over issues as the Biodiversity Roundtable of Singapore. This first event we are collaborating on is part of worldwide celebrations of the International Day of Biodiversity.

The international theme this year is Marine Biodiversity, something we are primarily engaged with. And the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore team will be contributing to the the Festival in various ways, at one of the talks, as part of a new Marine Exhibition to be unveiled at the Festival and at the Toddycats exhbition booth on the second floor at Singapore Botanic Gardens (Tanglin Gate). The Toddycats exhibition will have the company on the balcony of several groups including ACRES, Wildlife Reserves Singapore and Cicada Tree-Eco Place.

So come down and enjoy the talks, walks, exhibitions, artwork, games and of course interact and catch up with the community – we will be there!

Meanwhile, we have been hard at work preparing for the festival. After this volunteer training at NUS Lab 7 tonight, we’re down to shifting specimens over before it’s showtime!

ICCS otters at Toddycats Training

About the dollar note inspection? Well the portrait series of Singapore dollar notes which carry the face of our first president Encik Yusof bin Ishak are also imprinted with a different species of cowry each – right up to the $1,000 note. We’ll settle for just showing the $2 notes though!

Thanks to Xu Weiting for the photos!

Announcing the ICCS Otters team 2012!

Coordinator: N. Sivasothi
Deputy Coordinator: Xu Weiting

Data Captain: Airani S.
Deputy Data Captain: Thng Hui Hien
Recce Captain: Andy Dinesh
Manpower: Jocelyne Sze
Photo & Web: Kenneth Pinto
Sustainability Captain: Marcus Tay

Zone Captains
Northwest Zone Captain: N. Sivasothi

Northeast Zone Captain: Ng Kai Scene
Northeast Deputy Zone Captain: Lim Chen Kee
Northeast Deputy Zone Captain: Yang Yi Yong

Changi Zone Captain: Airani S
Changi Deputy Zone Captain: Thng Hui Hien

Pulau Ubin East Zone Captain: Lei Lei
Pulau Ubin Deputy Zone Captain: Andy Dinesh

Pulau Ubin West Zone Captain: Chua Li Shan

Tanah Merah Zone Captain: Benjamin Tan
Tanah Merah Deputy Zone Captain: Gladys Chua

East Coast Zone Captain: Cai Hongxia

South Zone Captain: N. Sivasothi

Site Captains
Pulau Ubin Southwest – Athena Han
Pulau Ubin CJ – Rachael Li
Pulau Ubin CJ – Sabrina Tang
LCK East – Jessica Ker
Pandan – Kelly Ong
Pandan/Toddycats – Fung Tze Kwan
Semakau – Ron Yeo