Singapore World Water Day – 29 volunteers remove 415.5kg of trash (43 trash bags) @ Sungei Pandan Mangrove [26 March 2016]

29 volunteers celebrated World Water Day Cleanup @ Sungei Pandan on 26 March 2016 – beaming with enthusiasm and with quiet intent that early Saturday morning, they certainly raised our spirits!

They had hopped onto a bus from from Kent Ridge and Dover MRT stations to our gathering point at the Jalan Buroh B25 bus stop. Against the noisy traffic, and with the help of a handy gigaphone, ICCS Coordinator Sivasothi aka Otterman introduced the site and its ecosystem before the ICCS -IKEA Intern Joys Tan (that’s me!) embarked on my first safety briefing!

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After many years of cleanups, the trash load at Sungei Pandan is now low and dominated by plastic sheets, cups, bottles, wrappers, straws, styrofoam (eps) and canvas bags. Many were embedded in the grass patch and mangrove floor, which requires a great effort for removal. Our volunteers were not dismayed but worked away, intent on improving the conditions in this rare mangrove spot in the south of Singapore – just look at the bright smiles on their faces!

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The ninety minute cleanup was an intense effort! So some of us took break after an hour to catch our breath and rest some weary muscles. Eventually it was time and we transferred and weighed the trash bags and set them aside at the agreed location for the NEA DPC contractors who ensure the trash gets disposed.

We debriefed the team by the roadside and reported a removal of 415.5kg of trash in 43 trash bags from the mangrove after an effort of 90 minutes! We discussed the type of trash we saw, remarked on the need to share the experience to encourage everyone to reduce trash at the source in our daily lives.

Otterman concluded with the biodiversity and heritage value of these precious remnant mangroves at Sungei Pandan and of the positive impact of the cleanups had made over the years. And we thanked the lovely volunteers for making a difference to Singapore!

Photos from the cleanup are available on Flickr and Facebook.

That was really some awesome work, volunteers! Thank you for protecting the environment!

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Celebrate World Water Day with a mangrove cleanup @ Sungei Pandan, Sat 26 March 2016: 7.30am

In celebration of World Water Day, volunteers with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) will be conducting a cleanup at Sungei Pandan mangrove on Sat 26 March 2016: 7.30am–10.30am.

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World Water Day Cleanup 26Mar2016

 

What is World Water Day? World Water Day is a day designated by the United Nations to highlight the importance of water and to advocate sustainable management of water resources. It is celebrated on 22 March annually.

Why cleanup? Humanity needs water and wetland habitats are an integral part of the water cycle on this planet. Wetlands habitats are especially precious in Singapore and trash causes adverse impacts to wildlife, releases harmful chemicals and are an unsightly presence we should not tolerate! Coastal cleanups are conducted by volunteers around the world to remove this trash, raise awareness of the plight of our oceans and waterways and motivate us to rethink our habits in daily urban living towards sustainable practises.

In Singapore: Water conservation efforts by PUB have seen Singapore’s per capita domestic water consumption dropped from 165 litres per day in 2003 to 150 litres. The agency is targeting a goal of 147 litres by 2020 and 140 litres by 2030.

Sungei Pandan Mangrove: Sungei Pandan is a small but precious mangrove located in south-western Singapore at the mouth of the Sungei Pandan, and draining into the sea at West Coast. In order to protect this site, the annual ICCS was extended to Sungei Pandan mangrove in 2008 and the bulk of the historical trash load has been removed. However, it is still burdened by an annual recruitment of marine trash and year-round coastal cleanups like the World Water Day cleanup help to make the ecosystem a more hospitable one for marine life – including the very special smooth-coated otter!

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Itinerary

  • 07:00 – Bus pick up at (1) Kent Ridge MRT [Bus stop ID: 18071, NUH] and (2) Dover MRT [Bus stop ID: 19031, Dover Stn]
  • 07:30 – Arrive at Jalan Buroh B25 bus stop and unload all logistics from the buses. Participants collect logistics – a pair of gloves and trash bags.
  • 07:45 – Safety Briefing for participants and the wet weather plans (carry on unless lighting threat). Identify the Trash Disposal Point (TDP; forward margin of Jalan Buroh B25 bus stop).
  • 08:00 – Cleanup begins.
  • 08:45 – Check on hydration levels; is everyone feeling okay?
  • 09:30 – Cleanup ends. Transport bags to the TDP.
  • 09:45 – Debrief including summary of trash collected.
  • 10:00 – Participants to clean up with water they bring to wipe themselves down.
  • 10:10 – Bus transports participants back to Dover and Kent Ridge MRTs.
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Meeting Points at Dover and Kent Ridge Stations for shuttle bus pick-up and drop-off.

Location of Jalan buroh B25 Bus stop


Location of Jalan Buroh B25 bus stop, indicated by the red triangle.

Things to note

  1. Transport to Pandan Mangroves, gloves, trash bags and weighing scales will be provided.
  2. For those intending to drive, do note that there are not public parking facilities nearby.
  3. You must wear hard-soled covered shoes or booties to to protect your feet from hazards.
  4. A change of t-shirt is recommended after a sweaty workout.
  5. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites and mud, but bermudas are fine.
  6. Water-proof your belongings.

Things to bring

  1. Water bottle (with at least one litre of water)
  2. Hat and/ or sun block
  3. Raincoat/ poncho (we will work in rain)
  4. Towel – wipe off sand and mud
  5. Extra water to wipe yourself down

Preparing for the cleanup

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a good breakfast – it’s hard work!
  3. Be punctual – we are unable to wait for latecomers; tide waits for no one!
  4. Refer to this recce report of SP2 for more information on the cleanup site.

Find out more about Singapore World Water Day 2016 here.
Thank you for caring for our planet this World Water Day!

The first year-round coastal cleanup of 2016 @ Sungei Pandan Mangrove, by NUS BES students [08 Jan 2016]

IMG_6265.jpgThe first mangrove cleanup conducted this year was conducted at the Sungei Pandan Mangrove (site SP2) on 08 Jan 2016 by the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) Community Education/Engagement Branch (CEB) with the support of ICCS.

The BES team consisting of 23 undergraduates collected a total of 213.4kg of trash, with the most common items being plastic bags and wrappers (~300 pieces), plastic bottles (~150 pieces) and expanded polystyrene (styrofoam) pieces (~100 pieces).

Styrofoam pieces ranged from smaller pieces (1cm x 1cm) to take-out food containers and even larger packaging pieces (1m x 50cm). Drinking straws and “lollipop sticks” were also abundant.

Unexpected items were helmets, buckets and even a fishing trap. On the bright side, no lost or discarded fishing gear (fishing rope, line or net) was present, other than the single fishing trap.

The cleanup was a success with larger pieces of trash removed from the mangroves. However, due to manpower and time constraints, we could not remove all the visible trash from the site, and could see that a number of plastic bottles, bags and wrappers remained. Some of these were trapped in between the roots and branches, reducing their accessibility.

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Mangroves are an important ecosystem we want to protect and conserve, for the ecosystem services they provide and for the wildlife that call it home. We hope to return to continue the battle against marine trash at this precious site in our neighbourhood!

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On behalf of the BES CEB team, we would like to thank ICCS Singapore (Coordinator Sivasothi and South Zone Captain Mr Lim Cheng Puay) for their advice, time and expertise during the planning phase as well as logistical support during the actual event.

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By: Ang Hui Hao, NUS BES

Congratulations to the NUS BES students! Thank you for contributing to the marine environment. 

SAJS kick off their “Values in Action” program with a coastal cleanup at Pandan Mangrove! (26 Nov 2015)

Staff of St. Andrew’s Junior School kicked off their “Values in Action” program with a sharing session by N. Sivasothi aka Otterman at the school and then travelled to the west for a coastal cleanup at Pandan Mangrove on 26 Nov 2015:

  • 1300h – Lunch @ School Canteen @ Potong Pasir
  • 1400h – Introduction and Video Session @ Thinkubator
  • 1445h – Depart for Ulu Pandan from the Carpark
  • 1530h – Start of Pandan Mangrove Cleanup
  • 1700h – Coastal cleanup ends and staff wash up
  • 1715h –  All depart for Staff D & D @ Civil Service Club Tessensohn

the very efficient Vice Principal Thomas Tan messaged me after the cleanup to say it was a wonderful, engaging experience, with the staff talking about it for days after the event. He hopes to keep the flame burning with positive action thereafter, in daily life!

See all the photos on Flickr.

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The awful sight of trash in the Sungei Pandan mangrove

15 June 2015 & 7 July 2015 – We headed down to Sungei Pandan Mangrove (SP1) in preparation for the Youth Day Mangrove Cleanup on 11 July 2015. We had previously organised a cleanup at Sungei Pandan Mangrove for World Water Day on 21 March 2015, where some of our participants reported sightings of the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) in the river!

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Despite great news of otters in the habitat, the sight of plastic bottles amongst the vegetation still gets extremely depressing. The patch of mangrove is small and unprotected, and it is rarely cleaned. Trash therefore accumulates, making the ecosystem inhospitable for biodiversity to thrive.

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After examining the trash load and determining how much manpower and logistics would be needed on Saturday, we admired the Tree-climbing Crabs (Perisesarma sp.), Rodong Snails (Telescopium telescopium) and Red Berry Snails (Assiminea sp.). Despite it’s located in an industrial area, Pandan Mangrove still has mangrove life!

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Our participants on Saturday will not only take away the message of marine trash and the impact it has on the natural environment, but also the value of our local mangrove habitats. Singapore isn’t just a concrete jungle, but our surviving ecosystems deserve recognition! Here’s to a successful Youth Day celebration!

ICCS Youth Day Celebrations: Marine Biodiversity and Sustainability Workshop + Mangrove Cleanup @ Sungei Pandan

In celebration of Youth Day, ICCS will offer a Marine Biodiversity and Sustainability Workshop and Mangrove Cleanup @ Sungei Pandan. We hope to introduce youth with an awareness of mangrove biodiversity, the impact marine trash and steps we can take on site and in our daily lives to improve the situation. 

Note: Our “Youth Day Celebrations” are open to all ages!
Registration is closed, thank you to everyone who signed up!

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Marine Biodiversity and Sustainability Workshop: 12.00pm – 2.00pm
Venue: Learning Lab @ Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
This workshop introduces participants to marine life in Singapore, the precious and surviving Sungei Pandan mangrove and the impact of marine trash. We will also explore sustainable solutions individuals can undertake to make a difference both onsite and upstream in our daily lives.

Itinerary
11.45am – 12.00pm: Registration
12.00pm – 12.30pm: Marine Life in Singapore and the mangroves of Sungei Pandan by N. Sivasothi aka ‘Otterman’.
12.30pm – 1.00pm: Introduction to mangrove and marine life with museum specimens.
1.00pm – 1.30pm: How individuals can make a difference in sustainability at home and at the workplace by Dr Amy Choong.
1.30pm – 2.00pm: Q&A & field trip preparations.

Youth Day Mangrove Cleanup @ Sungei Pandan: 2.00pm – 4.30pm
Meeting point: Bus stop @ Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

ICCS hopes to celebrate the youthful spirit with a cleanup at Sungei Pandan, a small, precious and unprotected patch of mangrove located in south-western Singapore. Through this exercise, participants be introduced to this historical site and obtain a first-hand understanding of the marine trash issue in Singapore.

Itinerary
2.00pm – 2.30pm: Transport from LKCNHM to Sungei Pandan Mangrove.
2.30pm – 2.45pm: Briefing and identification of Trash Collection Point (TCP). Collect gloves and trash bags.
2.45pm – 4.00pm: Mangrove cleanup
4.00pm – 4.15pm: Move trash to TCP.
4:15pm – 4.30pm: Weigh and record trash; debrief.
4.30pm – Bus leaves for LKCNHM.

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Things to note

  1. Transport to Sungei Pandan Mangrove, gloves, trash bags and weighing scales are provided.
  2. You MUST wear hard-soled covered shoes or booties to protect your feet.
  3. A change of clothes is recommended for after the sweaty workout.
  4. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites, but bermudas are fine.
  5. We will halt the cleanup 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 rain)
  4. Towel to wipe off sand and mud

Be prepared:

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a decent lunch – it’s hard work!
  3. Be punctual – we are unable to wait for latecomers; tide waits for no one!
  4. Refer to this recce report of Sungei Pandan 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 our planet!

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!

WWD1Here’s Liz, who has been actively participating in ICCS events for awhile now!

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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!