“Operation WE Cleanup” – 39 volunteers remove 403.5kg of trash from Lim Chu Kang mangrove [08 May 2016]

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Sun 08 May 2016 – 39 volunteers joined us early the morning for the “Operation WE Cleanup” at Lim Chu Kang mangrove. This movement is led by the Public Hygiene Council (PHC) to encourage Singaporeans to play a role in keeping our environment clean and we were glad that ICCS could support it!

Collectively, we removed a total of 403.5kg of trash (in 56 bags) over a 90 minute cleanup, leaving the beach looking so much healthier! There were lots of plastic bottles, straws, bags and styrofoam pieces of a variety of sizes. Where do you think they came from?

An exposed used syringe was carefully disposed – it is important that sharp objects be disposed properly and responsibly, to protect everyone who will handle the trash all the way to the incinerator. This is something we reinforce in every safety briefing prior to the cleanup – see Safety Advice for Participants on our website, which dates back to the 90’s!

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Medium trash load at Lim Chu Kang mangrove. I’ve found so many plastic straws within a small area!

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North-West Zone Captain, Adriane Lee.

During the cleanup, Adriane Lee chanced upon two mangrove pit vipers. Although venomous, like every other animal, they will not attack unless provoked. We kept our distance but encouraged everyone to enjoy the lovely view of the snakes on the tree. It certainly is important to be aware of our surroundings during a mangrove cleanup and watch where you place your hands and legs –points we cover in the safety briefing !

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The success of this and every other cleanup was due of course to our lovely team of volunteers who worked hard and were so responsive to coordination. It is a real joy to work with them and we are encouraged to organise more of these cleanups together!

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Happy volunteers in action – Part 1

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Happy volunteers in action – Part 2

Otterman shows how we work steadily on a patch of mangrove:
leave organics (including sand and mud) behind, and separate out glass”

Otterman sets up weighing stations with our lovely, obliging volunteers

During our Year Round Coastal Cleanups, we end with a debrief of the trash collected, type of trash and share information about the site, from its historical use to the present day and its conservation status. Our ICCS coordinator Otterman (N. Sivasothi), also identified ways in participants can reduce trash at home or at the workplace.

Sharing our experience with others is also important, he explained, as many would not believe the amount of trash that does settle on our shores in Singapore. We can all help by making small changes in our daily lives. No matter how small the effort might seem, collectively this can be significant!

Happy Singapore World Water Day everyone!

View 100+ photos on Flickr.

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Otterman giving a debrief at the end of the session.

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Be part of the 30th International Coastal Cleanup – join us @ Tanah Merah 7, Singapore on Sat 19 Sep 2015!

On Sat 19 Sep 2015, more than half a million volunteers around the world will participate in the 30th International Coastal Cleanup! And as the sun rises over Singapore, some 3,500 volunteers from 68 different organisations will hit the beaches and mangroves of Singapore in what will be our 24th year!

If you are not from an organisation or group but want to be part of ICC Singapore 2015, look no further – join the NUS Toddycats & Independents team who will battle marine trash at Tanah Merah 7. We join five other organisations on that 900 metre long beach on Sat 19 Sep 2015: 8.00am – 11.00am.

Registration has closed! Thanks for indicating your interest.
Transport will be provided from Tanah Merah MRT, so please sign up early

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Why Cleanup? In Singapore, our coastlines host a vast amount of biodiversity. Trash present in these areas can impact our wildlife adversely and devalue the natural beauty of the landscape. Volunteers in Singapore, like other concerned individuals around the world, conduct coastal cleanups to remove this trash, raise awareness about the impact of marine trash, and motivate us to adopt sustainable practises in daily urban living.

Tanah Merah Beach 7 is a state land located in the east of Singapore, next to the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT). This area is closed to members of the public and permission is needed for each access. The coastline of Tanah Merah 7 is alive with critters, big and small – read more about it here.

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But amidst creatures lie heaps of plastic and styrofoam.

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If you want to know more about what to expect on the day, see photos from ICCS 2014!

Come join us to make a difference on these shores!

Itinerary 

  • 7:30am – Transport from Tanah Merah MRT to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal Car Park (meeting point).
  • 8.00am – Briefing and identification of the Trash Disposal Point (TDP). Wet weather plans (stop for lighting threat). Organise into groups of four participants, apply insect repellant, collect gloves and trash bags; walk to site.
  • 8.15am – Cleanup begins @ TM7 Beach
  • 9.30am – Cleanup end. Weigh trash, report data summary (under shade!); discussion/ reflection.
  • 10.00am – Transportation of trash to TDP.
  • 10.30am – Participants clean up. Toilets are available at the Ferry Terminal building.
  • 10.45am – Event ends; bus leaves from Tanah Merah MRT.

Things to note

  1. Gloves, trash bags and weighing scales are provided.
  2. You must wear hard-soled covered shoes or booties to to protect your feet from hazards. Without appropriate footwear, you will not be allowed on the site.
  3. A change of clothes is recommended after a sweaty workout.
  4. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites, but bermudas are fine if you are tolerant or unaffected.
  5. If there is a drizzle, we will continue the cleanup with our wet weather gear. If there are strong winds or lightning threat, we will halt the event.

Things to bring:

  1. Water bottle (with at least one litre of water)
  2. Hat and/or sun block
  3. Reusable raincoat/poncho or umbrella
  4. Towel to wipe off sand and mud

Be prepared:

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a decent breakfast – it’s a hard morning’s work!
  3. Be punctual – we are unable to wait for latecomers; the tide waits for no one!
  4. Refer to this recce report of TM7 for more information on the cleanup site.
  5. Please read our advice to participants to prepare yourself for the cleanup!

Thank you for caring for the environment!

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Our World Water Day Celebration at Sungei Pandan Mangrove!

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21 Mar 2015 – 41 participants from all over Singapore came together to commemorate Singapore World Water Day with a Mangrove Cleanup at Sungei Pandan. Covering some 100m along the mangrove, we picked up 42 bags of trash, consisting of 283 kg of trash and 7,785 pieces of trash.

Top of the charts were plastic bags, with 3,719 pieces and second was 1,124 pieces of foam pieces (expanded polystyrene or EPS) which were collected and disposed.

Despite the threat of bad weather and a lost bus driver at the Kent Ridge pick-up point, the cleanup went smoothly and we wrapped up operations before the storm blew in! It was a heartening sight to seeing so many individuals from all around Singapore come together with the shared goal of removing whatever trash we could from the mangrove, inspiring Kai Scene to blog immediately after the cleanup!

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Our youngest participant at 6 years old found something to bring home from the mangroves!
This is the “reuse” part of the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”

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Some of our participants sank deep in the mud
and struggled to remove their wellys after the cleanup!

Sungei Pandan was heavily polluted in the 90’s, and when ICCS began operations in 2008, volunteers removed high loads of accumulated trash, typically collecting over a tonne in 90 minutes. In more recent years, even as plastics and styrofoam continue to be recruited into the habitat, the overall situation has improved tremendously with just a third of a tonne of trash removed in the last two cleanups!

In 2012 you can see how a low load of plastics can still dominate the landscape – Lim Cheng Puay, the ICCS South Zone Captain remembers this well.

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Coastal cleanups should not have to be necessary. Our Saturday cleanup reminded us its critical for us to reflect on our day-to-day practices and adopt more sustainable alternatives. Simple things, like questioning whether we truly need that plastic straw in our teh-ping or milo-ping the next time we’re at the coffeeshop or hawker centre – we collected 362 straws and stirrers that Saturday. We use these for a mere 10 minutes, before disposal. With so many, some get into our marine environment to leach plastics and persist for a long time.

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Thank you to everyone who came down to fight the good fight, and a big thank you to those who stayed to wash gloves and help with logistics!

Until the next cleanup!

Celebrating the spirit of the Independents on World Water Day!

Independents are volunteers who sign up for coastal cleanups independently of any organisation. They are motivated individuals who turn up to help at coastal cleanups without fanfare, goodie bags, t-shirts or souvenirs. They are only promised hard work, team work and the satisfaction of helping the planet.

ICCS Zone Captains who work alongside them are always gladdened by the experience!

My first close encounter with Independents was in 2010 when we worked at the coastal cleanup at Pasir Ris 6. I enjoyed the experience so much that wrote about it! Each time since, it has been just as heartening and yesterday, at the World Water Day mangrove clean-up at Sungei Pandan, hardworking Independents brought me great joy and motivation once again!

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Some Independents hard at work

The five friendly independents with me focused on the task as soon as we stepped into the mangrove. They took turns to record data and all ensured accuracy when categorising the trash. We steadily worked one area to the next, supporting each other. We had just met, but the high level of motivation about a common goal resulted in great effectiveness. 

Some of the great people in my team

Some of the great people in my team

With the right people, even data collation is fun!

With the right people, even data collation is fun!

Throughout the mangrove that afternoon, Independents worked with dedication and tirelessly until it was time to halt. The ICCS Otters were exchanging notes later in the night and were feeling glad to have met such individuals.

As Zone Captains, we work with many different people and groups. Some require more encouragement and support than others. Independents who show such great spirit, team work and effectiveness, motivate us to keep going with the task of coordination. ICCS Otters are in this for the long haul and many have kept working for over a decade – so it is important for us to work with such dedicated individuals.

To the Participants of World Water Day clean-up 2015, thank you for your enthusiasm and hard work. See you at the next cleanup!

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Independents battle marine trash with Toddycats at Tanah Merah 7 for ICCS [Sat 13 Sep 2014]

On Sat 13 September 2014, close to four thousand volunteers from 60 organisations will head to the shorelines of Singapore to battle marine trash. Our Zone Captains have been working tirelessly with these organisations and we are looking forward to ICCS!

Where do individual volunteers without an organisation do? They can register to help as “Independents”- the term we use for people motivated enough to join the coastal cleanup on their own.

You can join us by registering here by Wednesday, 10 September 2014!

This year they will be joining Toddycats at Tanah Merah Beach 7 where a 800m beach with lots of plastic trash awaits us!

The Toddycats & Independents team have been dispatched to Tanah Merah 7 this year because it is a tough site with lots of plastic trash scattered all along the 800m shore – and we have to transfer all the trash which we and others collect to the Trash Disposal Site at the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. The route to the beach will be down the side of a concrete bund so will all have to careful not to slip!

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Several groups will be on hand that day as well:

  1. Hougang Secondary School
  2. Jurong Secondary School
  3. National Environment Agency
  4. Toddycats
  5. Starbucks
  6. ITE College East

We need experienced and dependable hands at this site so do join us and do the following if you are interested to help out:

  1. Read the advise to Particpants on the ICCS Webpage.
  2. Fill in the registration form at tinyurl.com/iccs2014-tm7
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As this site is controlled by the police and access is restricted, we require you to provide us with your identification number and document type – we will erase this information on the day of the event. Please note only registered participants will be allowed to take part in the cleanup.

Thank you for your interest in protecting the environment and we hope to see you on the beach!

Calling Independents – battle marine trash at Kranji East mangrove with us!

On Sat 21 Sep 2013, more than three thousand volunteers will head to shoreline led by their Organisers to battle marine trash. Zone Captains will work with them at various sites around Singapore.

What will people without an Organisation to follow do? Well, we call you “Independents” – people without a group who are motivated enough to come down do your bit for the planet.

Well this year, you can join us in the North West of Singapore, where we will are assembling a team to tackle a very tough site this year – Kranji East mangrove.

This is a tough site for a few reasons:

  1. The trash load is high
  2. There are lots of heavy, bulky items.
  3. We have to carry all that trash up a slope.
  4. We have then have to move the load to the Trash Dispoal Point.
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Several groups will be on hand that day:

  1. “Independents”
  2. FMC Technologies Singapore
  3. North Vista Secondary ODAC
  4. Jurong Secondary School
  5. NUS Biodiversity Crew
  6. Raffles Museum Toddycats

It is important that you do the following:

  1. Read the Advise to Participants on the ICCS Webpage first.
  2. Then sign up at tinyurl.com/iccs-kranjieastform.

We need as many experienced and dependable hands as possible at this site, so do join us!

Cheerio!

Sivasothi aka Otterman
Coordinator,
International Coastal Cleanup Singapore,
http//coastalcleanup.nus.edu.sg


Independent Volunteers – registration is now open for coastal cleanups on Sat 29 Sep 2012!

Dear Independents,

I am pleased to inform you that registration for Independent Volunteers is now open at: http://iccs-independents.rafflesmuseum.net

Volunteers who want to contribute to the protection of the marine environment through ICCS but who do not have a group or organisation, are invited to sign up as Independent Volunteers. .

This year we will work at sites requiring help on Saturday 29th September 2012 from 2.00pm – 6.00pm in conjunction with the National Volunteer and Philanthrophy Centre (NVPC).

This date and time ail see a suitable tide at which to work safely and efficiently.

The sites are at:

  1. Pasir Ris 6
  2. Tanah Merah 9
  3. Sungei Ubin, Pulau Ubin (note you have to bear the $5 bumboat fare on your own

Be sure to come for the ICCS Briefing too! See https://coastalcleanup.wordpress.com/iccs-briefing/.

Thank you for interest in protecting the environment!

Cheerio!

Sivasothi


N. Sivasothi
Coordinator, International Coastal Cleanup Singapore
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore

e: iccs@rafflesmuseum.net
w: http://coastalcleanup.nus.edu.sg/
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