A Great Effort at Sungei Seletar Clean-up

Volunteers from Land Transport Authority, Pei Hwa Secondary School and individual signup participants arrived early at 8am at Sungei Seletar for International Coastal Cleanup Singapore 2011 on Saturday 17th September 2011.

Sungei Seletar is one of the most difficult places at which to conduct a cleanup. Firstly, there is no public bus service. Then there is the lack of shelters in case of heavy rain. Zero toilet unless you consider the tall bushes and shrubs fair game. The difficult terrain of rocky beaches threaten to sprain the ankles and ankle-deep mud near the mangroves and the tides cut off the returning path on the beach. Lastly the Trash Collection Point is far, far away.

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Despite these challenging factors, enthusiastic volunteers cleaned up about 650kg of trash with the plastic (bags & beverage bottles)  comprising the bulk of trash out of this not-so-noticed spot of coast.

It was a great effort and much thanks to all volunteers who turned up to battle marine pollution that day.

Captains recce tour of the Northeast

I like this time of the year when the Northeast Zone coastal cleanup captains (Cheong Wei Siong, Lim Chen Kee and myself) recce our sites. Besides the serious assessment work, I personally enjoy the opportunity to see places in Singapore I don’t normally visit. Also, I get to catch up with my deputy zone captains, who are my good friends and partners in crime, with whom I have collaborated with for so many years.

From west to east, we covered the sites in our “vast” zone – the peaceful Sembawang, the hidden Selimang, the trash-laden Sungei Seletar and the ever-changing Punggol. And embarrassingly, for me, this is the first time I visited Sembawang and Selimang!

Tranquil Sembawang
My first impression of Sembawang was of its tranquility, despite the adjacent shipyard. We saw a father bring his son out to fish and a golden retriever that jumped happily into the water. The trashload here is light and this should be an easy site for first-timers.

Sembawang Beach (Notice the golden retriever in the background!)

Hidden Selimang
Next up – Selimang. We drove down the small Jalan Selimang road, passing by the quaint kampong-like mosque, the Masjid Petempatan Melayu Sembawang, to reach this site. This small site has a high density trashload, littered with broken glass. It looks suitable for older students and adults.

Selimang

Trash-laden Sungei Seletar
Leaving Selimang, we visited our newest site at Sungei Seletar which was “rubbish galore”. We were shocked by Sungei Seletar 1 and I exclaimed, “Which part is the land and which part is the sea?”

S. Seletar 1 - Where is the land and sea divide?!

It was certainly hard to tell for all you see is trash, trash and more trash! I no longer think the phrase “rubbish galore” can accurately describe the site. It’s a “sinful seaful of trash”. Chen Kee and Wei Siong remarked that this was like Kranji when we first started there (side-note: this is very telling of how long they have been with ICCS!).

Well , the upside to such “horror scenes” is the motivational boost to find a tough, hardworking group to work at the site – yes, we getting warmed up for ICCS 2011!

S. Seletar 1 - A sea full of trash

Ever-changing Punggol
The last site we staggered to (after that scene) was Punggol – the face of Singapore’s developing landscape. Every year, we are welcomed by changes in its facade and actually take awhile to find the shore! The Park Connector Network is now a nice and easy walk and by the time of our cleanup in September, I suppose there will be new park facilities like toilets as well – it does look almost ready to open!

 

Punggol beach from the new Park Connector Network

And so it was a happy Saturday morning for me, touring the ICCS Northeast Zone. Join us there for a cleanup!

P/S: We cannot report on Pasir Ris sites, especially the trash-laden Site 6 yet. The tide beat us to it! Site 6 was submerged but visible in the distance were dots of trash. We will be back!

Ng Kai Scene
Northeast Zone Captain
International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

1,208 plastic bottles at the first ICCS @ Sungei Seletar

18 Sep 2010 – Under a blistering hot sun, the first international coastal cleanup was conducted at Sungei Seletar. The volunteers who tackled this beach/mangrove shore were from Pei Hwa Secondary School’s NPCC & NCC units and the Australian International School. Well there was one more person – Independent sign-up Michael Wolstencroft, for whom the cleanup at Pasir Ris last week was merely an appetiser!

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At Sungei Seletar Site 1, Pei Hwa collected around 370kg of trash and topping their list of items was 940 plastic beverage bottles (less than 2 litres) contributing to a total at both sites of 1,208! Michael alone was able to collect 80 bottles in addition to a bi-fold door and a fishing net!

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The Australian International School who cleared a further 140kg of trash picked up a bowling ball – this was classified under “toy”; surely, no one was bowling along the beach! Oh and two car accumulators.

It was a tiring effort this last Saturday, but it was good to see a job done well. We are really glad the first dent has been made of the accumulated trash and we look forward to future cleanups at Sungei Seletar!

Lim Chen Kee,
Deputy Zone Captain,
ICCS Northeast Zone