World Environment Day 2016 Saving Gaia Beach Cleanup and video

Mediacorp Saving Gaia organised in a beach cleanup on 4th June 2016 at Pasir Ris 6. Their staff volunteers collected and removed a total of 354.5kg of trash from the beach in conjunction with World Environment Day, we organized a beach cleanup at Pasir Ris Beach.

This is the second coastal cleanup they have conducted at Pasir Ris 6 this year and as a result, that beach ecosystem and marine life are getting significant relief from the burden of marine trash. Their third cleanup at Pasir Ris 6 will be part of ICCS in September. This is an excellent example of regular and continuous stewardship which we have seen exemplified too by Bukit Batok Secondary School.

To encourage more people to play their part in protecting the environment, Mediacorp Saving Gaia produced yet another excellent short video which all Organisers can share with their volunteers:

There is a Mandarin version too – available here!

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Tender loving care for Pasir Ris 6 beach by the environmental stewards of Bukit Batok Secondary School

On 09 Apr 2016, 56 participants (44 students, 6 alumni and 6 teachers) of Bukit Batok Secondary School (BBSS) hit the beach for 90 minutes from 8.30am for a year-round coastal cleanup and removed 584 kg of trash from Pasir Ris 6 beach. This non recreational beach west of Pasir Ris Park is host to marine life and is not cleared regularly of marine trash.

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This was the third coastal cleanup BBSS conducted at PR6 this year, after the earlier cleanups of 20 Jan 2016 and 27 Feb 2016. They plan three more in July, August and September – the last will be part of the annual data-gathering International Coastal Cleanup Singapore. Isn’t this tender loving care for the marine environment and marine life at Pasir Ris wonderful?

BBSS’ cleanups at PR6 were carefully thought out. Mr Syam Lal Sadanandan, the Dean Normal (Technical) at Bukit Batok Secondary School wrote in November 2014 to ask for an opportunity to contribute to environmental protection. Emails were exchanged to prepare the group, fix dates and inform relevant agencies, before he and his fellow teachers met NE Zone Captain Yang Yi Yong for a recce of the site on 7th Feb 2015.

Ready for a series of safe cleanups, they conducted two on 14 Mar & 23 May 2015 but sadly September’s ICCS was cancelled due to the haze.

This year they are on track with three cleanups under their belt already, and have already relieved Pasir Ris 6 of more than a tonne of trash!

The continued and repeated efforts of small groups at a specific sites is extremely helpful for the protection of non-recreational coastal sites. So under the Year-Round Coastal Cleanup programme, we have tried to relieve sites of their marine trash load in a sustained but non-impactful manner:

The Year-Round Coastal Cleanup calendar at yrcc-cal.coastalcleanupsingapore.org
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The insult of marine trash on our shores is relentless. Certainly working on upstream issues is critical to the solution, and we pay close attention to those who champion this relentlessly in Singapore such as Zero Waste Singapore. In the meantime, we can help marine life immediately and directly. Thus we hope to encourage fieldwork-savvy groups to consider conducting more than one cleanup at a favourite site each year.

Sungei Pandan mangroves was a fairly recent site we turned attention to in 2008. It is no longer covered with a mat of plastic but we are not done yet. Some smaller sites nestled there are both tough sites to work in and sensitive sites we must be careful with. But we will persist and think of a future where none of this is necessary and marine life flourishes on our mangroves and shores in great health.

Meanwhile, the actions of organisers like the teachers of Bukit Batok Secondary School give me much hope!

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Earth Day celebrations – 144 volunteers remove 1,500kg of trash @ Pasir Ris Beach 6

Earth Day Poster

18 Apr 2015 – 144 individuals from all over Singapore hit the beach at Pasir Ris 6 to commemorate Earth Day with a coastal cleanup. Over a 350m of beach, volunteers removed more than 1,500kg of rubbish in 210 bags of trash! Good job folks!

The 144 volunteers comprised of Independents, schools and organisations. We were glad to see many familiar faces from our World Water Day Cleanup in March – Chee On, Liz and Petra are motivated individuals that regularly volunteer during our coastal cleanups! Quyen from our Chinese New Year Coastal Cleanup was another familiar face. The schools were American Centre for Education (ACE) led by Vernessa Chuah, Yuhua Secondary School led by Nicol Ee, and ACS Independent led by Timothy.

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Thanks to ICCS Photo Captain Kenneth Pinto for the photographs!

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The trash was dispersed throughout the 350m beach but the majority had accumulated at the western end in a “river of plastic”. Many of the Independents ventured here to tirelessly work at removing plastic and aluminium bags.

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Determined individuals hard at work at the western end of the beach.

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One of our youngest participants found a horseshoe crab trapped in a plastic bag and rescued it. Still moving, it made its way back into the water, hurray!

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After the trash collection, we weighed all the bags and formed a human chain to transport the trash bags from the beach to the Trash Disposal Point. NParks had kindly arranged for disposal subsequently.

Pasir Ris Beach 6 is located at the edge of state land beyond Pasir Ris Park. Not a recreational beach, it is not regularly cleaned and large amounts of trash can build up at certain times of the year. Regular cleanups by volunteers have kept the trash load manageable but it was impossible for 144 volunteers to clear the entire burden of trash in a single afternoon. We are definitely examining that trash profile and heading back soon for another coastal cleanup.

It was lovely to see volunteers working hard on a Saturday afternoon to make the Pasir Ris 6 a more hospitable beach for the marine critters there!

Until the next cleanup, Happy Earth Day everyone!

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!

2015’s first coast cleanup recce – Pasir Ris 6 @ North East Zone [07 Feb 2015]

This past Saturday morning (07 Feb 2015) marked the first recce of the year for the North East Zone. Organisers from Bukit Batok Secondary School comprising of teachers Syam Lal Sadanandan and Surjeet Singh with student Azri, met with Zone Captain Yi Yong at Pasir Ris Beach 6 in preparation for their cleanup in March.

Organisers from Bukit Batok Secondary School got in touch with ICCS coordinators late last year with the intention to carry out a cleanup in March. This was a good opportunity to address the high trash load at Pasir Ris Beach 6 which, despite the concerted effort of various groups at the International Coastal Cleanup in Sep 2014, still presented a significant challenge of marine trash.

Where the now dried-up and silted-over stream used to be, near the bottom of the picture

Near the bottom of the picture: the now dried-up and silted-over stream

After four and half months, the small stream at the entrance of the site had disappeared! This could be due to the low rain fall of the past month. Well, organisers need no longer worry about accessing and exiting the site at higher tide levels so there will be greater flexibility with the cleanup schedule.

An area of high trash concentration along the strandline and in the vegetation

A high trash load along the strand line and in the vegetation

Another area of high trash concentration along the beach

Another area of high trash concentration along the beach

Typically, the trash load at Pasir Ris 6 was as high as ever, with the largest trash accumulated along the strandline and in the vegetation. This will prove challenging as the students will face restrictions in their movements and risk of insect bites, so they will have to be careful here. The trash was comprised of the usual suspects – plastic bags, wrappers and bottles, with a few barrels in the mix. A big plastic tub had the organisers’ eyes twinkling as they conspired of ways of utilising it in their school’s beautification project!

Teachers Syam and Surjeet excited with the prospect of turning trash into treasure

Teachers Syam and Surjeet excited with the prospect of turning trash into treasure

The cleanup, scheduled for the 14 Mar 2015, will be an interesting and educational experience for the students of Bukit Batok Secondary School. They have their work cut out for them, so let’s wish them all the best as they do their part in tackling the scourge of marine trash!

And help marine creatures like this horseshoe crab!

Help marine creatures like this horseshoe crab!

By Yang Yi Yong
Zone Captain,
North East Zone,
International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

World Oceans Day Cleanup 2012 – 75 clear 1.5 tonnes of trash in light rain!

To celebrate World Oceans Day 2012, ICCS conducted two beach coastal cleanups at Pasir Ris Site 6 (PR6) and Tanah Merah Site 7 (TM7) on the 9th June 2012! On this sleepy Saturday morning where the sky was overcast and with intermittent showers, 75 volunteers turned up to do their part for the marine environment!

At PR6, 50 volunteers turned up to help clear a non-recreational beach site and everyone worked hard to try to clear as much trash as they could within the 90 minutes. The NE zone captains (Kai Scene, Chen Kee & Yi Yong) recruited energetic PR6 volunteers from ACJC student council, general public who responded to the World Oceans Day cleanup post, SgCares and ICCS Otters (Kah Ming, Jocelyne, Marcus, Kelly & Weiting).

NE Zone Captain Kai Scene looking really happy at the wonderful 80% volunteer turnout rate!

After a full 90 minutes of cleanup, we had used up all of the 140 trash bags! The ICCS team then quickly organised the volunteers to form a human chain to transport the trash quickly and efficiently out to the collection point.

Participants form a human chain to transport out the numerous bags of trash.

Look at the amount of trash collected, a total of 1,100kg of trash removed!

All the trash was weighed and we removed a total of 1.1 tonnes of trash from the site! After 90 minutes of hard work, there was definitely a transformation from a trash-filled beach where food wrappers and plastic bags littered all over to a visibly cleaner PR6! Kudos to all PR 6 volunteers for your time and effort!

Over at TM7, even though the cleanup was delayed 30 minutes by the rain, 21 highly enthusiastic volunteers from SgCares, together with Ivan, Dinesh and Tanah Merah Zone Captains (Benjamin & Gladys) started at 9.30am to work the shores. Each volunteer had a trash bag in hand and off they went to remove any trash that they saw.

TM 7 volunteers help to remove sand from the interior of tire before moving to disposal point! (Photo from Benjamin Tan)

Even though, the TM7 were a smaller group of volunteers, they managed to remove 66 trash bags within 90 minutes. This amounted to an impressive 343kg of trash, excluding bulky items! Great job, TM7 volunteers!

TM7 volunteers bringing in the trash (Photo from Ivan Kwan)

Well done to all the volunteers who turned up for the two beach cleanups today! These efforts have made a difference to the marine environment. Do share your experience with your family and friends as part of the celebration for World Oceans Day. Spread the message and help protect our oceans!

See also Ivan <a href=”http://lazy-lizard-tales.blogspot.sg/2012/06/world-oceans-day-tanah-merah.html”>Kwan’s post</a>

Help battle marine trash on World Oceans Day cleanup @ PR6 (9th June, 8.30am)

It’s World Oceans Day on the 8th June! What better way to celebrate World Oceans Day by doing meaningful for our shores? The seas have provided us with much resources, many of which we have taken for granted, food and even oxygen from phytoplankton. Even if you live far inland, the oceans and us are interconnected on many different levels.

This World Oceans Day, we encourage you to take this opportunity to give back to the oceans! Make a difference to the marine life that call our shores their home and personally experience the impacts of plastic on our shore. We invite you to come celebrate World Oceans Day with a 90 minutes coastal cleanup activity at “hidden beach paradise”Pasir Ris Site 6 (PR6).

Sign up here by Wed 6th June 2012:
http://tinyurl.com/yrcc-pr6-2012

Your efforts will help reduce the high trash load at PR6 which usually consists of plastic bags, food wrappers and straws. These plastics can cause damage to the marine ecosystem and might eventually break down to microplastics and enter the food chain. These concentrations of toxic chemicals leeched from the plastics may magnify and move up the food chain to reach back to humans. Besides removing marine trash, learn about the diversity of marine life just at our own shores! These shores are often overlooked but are teeming with life!

Learn their identities when you head down to Pasir Ris on June 9th!

EVENT DETAILS

For those interested in tackling Pasir Ris Site 6, do note the following:

Date: 9 Jun 2012
Meeting Time: 8.30am (The session will end around 11.30am.)
Meeting place:  Pasir Ris Park BBQ Pit No. 64

Volunteers for Pasir Ris Site 6, please sign-up at http://tinyurl.com/yrcc-pr6-2012!

Note:  It takes around 10 minutes to walk from the nearest carpark (Carpark E) / bus stop to the site. For more details, you can refer to this page.

You will meet our friendly Northeast Zone Captains: Ng Kai Scene, Lim Chen Kee & Yang Yiyong.

View our post on Earth Day clean up for a glimpse into what you may be involved in!
If you wish to share your photos with the community and want them in our ICCS Flickr repository, you can zip and wetransfer to iccs@rafflesmuseum.net. Please send the files with the following details (name of photographer, date, location).