2,055 styrofoam pieces! Working in pairs with social distancing practiced within and between pairs, a small group of volunteers spent a large chunk of the allocated 1 hour on a Sunday afternoon picking up these glaringly white and ubiquitous pieces at the mouth of Sg. Loyang. In total, 3,440 pieces of marine debris were bagged into 19 bags with a combined weight of 76.3kgs.
Consistent with previous years ICCS Data, Styrofoam pieces had the highest count. Other items in the top 10 were also predominantly made of materials derived from fossil fuels (i.e. plastic).
41 fishing gear related debris were amongst the items collected. Some of the drift nets had trapped animals. Volunteers released a ghost crab but were too late to save 2 mangrove horseshoe crabs- having been trapped in the nets too long thus being unable to find food or eventually drying out.
Importance of Healthy Mangroves
Sg. Loyang Mangrove is located at the East end of Pasir Ris Park. It houses a variety of flora and fauna, and according to WildSingapore it is also home to the Bakau Mata Buaya, a “Critically Endangered” mangrove tree. Marine debris tends to get trapped in the mangrove roots, leading to potential smothering of said roots and consequently impacting the health of the mangroves and the marine biodiversity that relies on it. This is why clean-ups are important to support a healthy mangrove.
How to conduct a cleanup?
While covid-19 prevented our annual island wide cleanup to celebrate International Coastal Cleanup Day on every 3rd Saturday of Sep in 2020, it hasn’t stopped beach cleanups, albeit in smaller groups of 5, to happen altogether. The public can join organized small group clean-ups through Little Green Men , Ocean Purpose Project , EastCoastBeachPlan or organize your own using the tools from Cleanpods. You can even conduct your own cleanup at Lazarus island with discounts on your next ferry ride! Do remember to check the ICCS Facebook page for prevailing guidelines, given the long-term nature of this pandemic.
The ICCS page has resources which you may find useful for organizing your own cleanups. And if you have data, you may share that on Ocean Conservancy’s CleanSwell App.
Thanks to NEA PHC and NParks for liasing with us to ensure the continued protection of our mangroves.
ICCS Zone Captain