Sat 01 April 2017: 7.30am – Join us for a very muddy World Water Day mangrove cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang

Join NUS Toddycats for the third year-round coastal cleanup at Lim Chu Kang. We are determined to clear this area of marine debris and plan to get muddy as we venture deeper into the mangrove this time. Working alongside us on the beach will be volunteers from NUS SAVE.

Transport is provided for 40 people (be sure to choose the right ticket), read all the details (itinerary, safety, site details) at the Eventbrite registration page.

888kg of marine trash removed from Lim Chu Kang during the Chinese New Year/World Wetlands Day coastal cleanup

67 NUS Toddycats & Friends battled trash at Lim Chu Kang mangrove on Sat 4th Feb 2017 and removed 888kg of trash. Huat ah!

The scene at Lim Chu Kang beach during a recce on 14th January 2017 was really one we had expected. Despite six coastal cleanups between Feb – Sep last year, the inflow of trash from the Johor Straits is ceaseless, and high loads of trash wash in over the monsoon season.

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The same grim sight greeted the advance party conducting the pre-cleanup recce on the morning of 4th of February 2017, as they checked for hornet nests (which would require the cleanup to be cancelled), mangrove pit vipers (which we would be careful to avoid disturbing), and crocodiles (which we would encourage either the crocodile or ourselves to leave the site).

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There was enough of us and we worked hard and fast in that 90 minutes. The final “prosperity” figure of 888kg of trash was purely accidental, and I was actually hoping we’d clear at least one tonne of trash. A chain gang was organised and we transferred the trash out to the pre-arranged Trash Disposal Point. Later that day, an NEA contractor despatched by the Department of Public Cleanliness would remove the load and see to its disposal. Like most of our solid waste trash in Singapore, all of it is destined for the incinerator and its ash will be sent to the landfill at Pulau Semakau.

The 888kg amount made for a good byline later that day as a Straits Times reporter and photographer had accompanied us and posted reports the same day and on the next day, with video.

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  • “888kg of rubbish cleared during mangrove clean-up on 8th day of Chinese New Year,” by Zhaki Abdullah with video, and with photos by Alphonsus Chern. The Straits Times, 04 Feb 2017 [link] [video].
  • “Almost 900kg of rubbish cleared from Lim Chu Kang mangrove,” by Zhaki Abdullah with photos by Alphonsus Chern. The Straits Times, 05 Feb 2017 [link]

There is still trash left behind and other Year-Round Coastal Cleanups will continue to whittle away the trash load surely and sensitively.

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Photo album by Kenneth Pinto on Flickr. Thanks to NUS Toddycats Airani S, Ng Kai Scene, Joelle Lai, Adriane Lee, Yang Yi Yong, Ong Say Lin & Joleen Chan.

Sat 04 Feb 2017: 7.45am – 11.00am @ Lim Chu Kang – Let’s throw out the trash this Chinese New Year

Help throw out the trash this Chinese New Year with a Coastal Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove on Saturday 4th Feb 2017: 7.45am – 11.00am. Join us in extending some tender loving care to one of our precious mangrove fragments in Singapore. But you will need to ready for hard work, properly fitted out and ready for action – this is not for the faint-hearted!

Transport will be provided from Kranji MRT.

Please sign up by Wed 1st Feb 2017.

For details, please head over to the Eventbrite Registration page. Do read the details about safety and preparation please.

Lim Chu Kang beach, Sat 14 Jan 2017

Happy birthday Singapore! From 90 volunteers who celebrated with a mangrove cleanup!

Once again, members of the public joined NUS Toddycats in commemorating National Day by coming together to clear marine trash from our precious mangroves – 90 volunteers cleared half a tonne of trash (573kg) in 103 trash bags from Lim Chu Kang East mangrove this year.

The cleanup was relocated to this tougher site as our usual site at Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove has received enough tender loving care of late that it remains relatively clean – encouraging news indeed!

Before the buses from Kranji MRT with most of the buses arrived, a pre-cleanup check of the site was conducted. We identified two beautiful mangrove pit vipers in LCK East mangrove and marked off the area to ensure they would not disturbed by the cleanup crew.

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The 90 volunteers were sorted into groups of 10 led by team leaders who were pushed through four insertion points into Lim Chu Kang East mangrove, slowly and carefully. Many hands make light work indeed and the small groups working hard amidst the vegetation also ensured we minimised our impact to the site.

We would not clear all of the trash that morning but the ICCS cleanup in September would take care of the rest. Meanwhile, it was good to realise see that the mangrove plant cover had improved considerably in LCK East mangrove.

I was really happy that I had NUS Toddycats with me – eleven of these experienced field biologists led small groups of volunteers deep into our plastic-ridden but precious LCK mangroves. Thanks to Amanda TanXu WeitingKenneth Pinto, Yang Yi YongFung Tze Kwan, Tan Chia WuTan Kai SceneAirani SAdriane LeeTeo Kah Ming & Theresa Su; also Joys Tan for handling pre-cleanup logistics. 

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It was a delight to see Sonneratia alba sprouting on the northern stream bank once again! We worked hard in this polluted stream to remove embedded plastic bags – the stream was still host to many crabs, fish, prawns, mudskippers and even horseshoe crabs, which still mate in the area.

Mangrover Theresa Su, the soothing sight of a capable field biologist amidst the mud!

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Organic pollutants from upstream was trickling down into the stream and raising an awful smell – this stinky organic effluent must be traced back to its source and eliminated. It pollutes the north-western mangroves in many spots, not just Lim Chu Kang East mangrove.

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Wheelbarrows are critically important in shifting half a ton of trash – we borrowed this from NUS CAPT, used the DBS pickup to bring to over to my RVRC office and rented a GoGoVan to transport it here in the morning – well worth all the effort! They will next be used at Tanah Merah during ICCS on 3rd September 2016.

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At the Weighing Station, volunteers weight and total up the weighed trash carefully! The weight does not reflect the number of items removed (e.g. a high amount of plastics is not heavy), but provides some indication at least of the amount of trash removed.

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A chain-gang of volunteers moved the accumulated half tonne of mangrove trash to the Trash Disposal Point, and thanks to the National Environment Agency’s Department of Public Cleanliness, their contractor will come at midday to help us with trash removal. All of such trash in Singapore ends up in an incineration point and its ash ultimately makes its way to the Pulau Semakau landfill the south.

What an amazing sight to behold once we were done, this is what a macro-trash free mangrove in Singapore would look like – may all our mangroves be as well-loved! #limchukang #mangrove #nationalday (Photo by Fung Tze Kwan)

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Always on hand, my first aid kits were thankfully needed just for one scratch today; sharing the comprehensive advise to participants before the cleanup, the pre-cleanup recce, the safety briefing with critical emphasis at the start, site captains and experienced independents amongst the volunteers, the slow and careful movement by everyone, the thick gloves issued to everyone, and the “gloves on always” rule – all of these help keep cleanups incident-free.

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Back at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore, a few of us NUS Toddycats see to the cleaning of the muddy gloves and wheelbarrows. These will be set aside to dry and then are packed away for the next cleanup! #reuse

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Always head into tough terrain with some help – I was really pleased with the 11 @nustoddycats who stepped up to be site captains when summoned that morning – they kept everyone safe in the tough terrain! Here, my former honours students are lined up chronologically – Maria, sister of Theresa Su (Hons 2009), Xu Weiting (Hons 2010), Fung Tze Kwan (Hons 2011) & Amanda Tan (Hons 2012).

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Hearty greetings for Singapore’ 51st National Day in the sun from the wonderful volunteers!

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Pre-National Day mangrove cleanup @ LCK East – registration closes tomorrow

101 people have signed up to celebrate National Day in a meaningful way with the pre-National Day mangrove cleanup at Lim Chu Kang East. Registration closes tomorrow.

 

The happy news is that the mangrove at the original site has a very low load of trash after an earlier year-round coastal cleanup in late June. So we are tackling the adjacent area of Lim Chu Kang East mangrove (view the map). We began working at this site in 2011 (see photos here and the burden of trash there has been reduced considerably.

Still, the 100 of us will have our work cut out for us.

There will ICCS cleanups a month after this, at both LCK and LCKE mangroves. These sites are experiencing their best relief from macro-trash in recent decades, which has been carefully achieved at several sites now, to manage impact even as we remove marine trash. What a grand and gradual effort by volunteers over 20 years!

For this cleanup, we’ve conducted our recce, booked two 45-seater buses to fetch volunteers from Kranji MRT, prepared the stores, updated participants, sought permission from SPF via SLA, and informed NEA DPC to help with trash removal – they all replied very quickly, by the way. And we look forward to the company of people who are making an effort to celebrate National Day in a meaningful way!

Celebrate National Day with a Coastal Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove (Sat 06 Aug 2016)

Update – the Pre-National Day mangrove cleanup is relocated to LCK East mangrove.

Every year, volunteers with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) celebrate National Day with a coastal cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove. This year we will be working on Saturday 6th Aug 2016: 8.00am – 10.30am.

To join us, Sign up here by 1st August 2016!
Transport will be provided from Kranji MRT to the cleanup site @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove

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Why do we conduct coastal cleanups? Habitats along Singapore’s coastlines host an amazing biodiversity and trash present in these areas impact our wildlife adversely and devalue the natural beauty of the landscape. Coastal cleanups conducted by volunteers around the world remove this trash, raise awareness about the impact of marine trash, and motivate us to work towards solutions. including sustainable daily practises.

Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove is an unprotected but precious patch of wetland, located in the northwest of Singapore. Incoming trash from the Johor Straits is regularly deposited on the shoreline and impacts the animals, plants and the organisms of the ecosystem there.

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Meeting Point: Participants can meet at the bus stop outside Kranji MRT (Bus code: 45139) and will be transported to the cleanup site at Lim Chu Kang road end, or meet us at the venue itself.

Itinerary 

  • 07.45am – Bus pick up at bus stop outside Kranji MRT (Bus code: 45139)
  • 08.15am – Bus arrives at the Lim Chu Kang Road end. Apply insect repellant, collect gloves and trash bags. Safety and procedure briefing.
  • 08.30am – Cleanup begins
  • 09.45am – End of cleanup; transport trash bags to Trash Collection Points 1–3.
  • 10.00am – Trash is weighed and moved to the Trah Disposal Point; debrief.
  • 10.15am – Participants clean up; there are no public amenities in this area an your legs must be clean to enter the bus. So bring some water.
  • 10.30am – Bus departs for Kranji MRT.

Things to note:

  1. Transport to Lim Chu Kang Beach, 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, else you will not be allowed to work in the area.
  3. A change of clothes is recommended after a sweaty workout.
  4. You must be clean to enter the bus – bring a cloth and extra water to do this.
  5. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites.
  6. We will continue the cleanup 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 and/ or sun block
  3. Reusable raincoat / poncho (we will work in light rain)
  4. Towel to wipe off sand and mud
  5. Change of clothes for public transport.

Be prepared:

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a decent breakfast – it’s hard work!
  3. Be punctual – the bus is unable to wait for latecomers; and the tide waits for no one!
  4. Refer to this recce report of Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove.
  5. Please read our advice to participants to prepare yourself for the cleanup!

Thank you for caring for our planet!

“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.