The first and final coastal cleanup at Pulau Semakau in 2014

Pulau Semakau will be closed for about a year for the development of the Phase 2 lagoon from March 2014. Before that happens, a cleanup was conducted in Sat 15 Feb 2014 by 96 volunteers, 71 HSBC staff and 25 nature volunteers.

Ron Yeo the coordinator for this cleanup, who is also the ICCS Site Captain for Pulau Semakau., reports:

“Generally there are several types of solid waste found along the Pualu Semakau shore:

  1. Things left behind by the previous islanders, including refrigerator shells, sofas and other bulky things.
  2. Trash discarded by the illegal fishermen, such as nets and ropes.
  3. Trash brought in by the currents, including small items like bottles, bags, styrofoam and toys and larger items such as chemical drums.

For this cleanup, I suggested volunteers focus on the smaller plastic trash in order to remove as much trash as possible out of the forest rather expending energy on just a few heavy bulky trash items.

We removed a total of 517.5kg of plastic trash.

This as an excellent job by everyone involved. Semakau requires a long trek to remove trash after a cleanup and is littered with many small items. Coastal cleanups like these which are conducted throughout the year are much needed and much appreciated. Find out more about Year-Round Cleanups.

Well done folks!

All aboard!
20140215 Semaku Cleanup01 ferry ronyeo

Ron Yeo briefing HSBC staff and other volunteers
20140215 Semaku Cleanup02 briefing ftk

The trash awaits
20140215 Semaku Cleanup02b trash ftk

Hard at work during the afternoon low tide20140215 Semaku Cleanup03 pickuptrash ftk

Moving trash to the Trash Disposal Point
20140215 Semaku Cleanup04 movetrash ftk

Happy faces at the beach!20140215 Semaku Cleanup05 group ronyeo

Thanks to Fung Tze Kwan an Ron Yeo for photos!

For the record, the programme for the afternoon cleanup is listed below:

1.30pm Meet at Marina South Pier
1.45pm Briefing for non-HSBC volunteers and prepare for departure
3.00pm Arrive at Pulau Semakau
3.15pm General briefing and change into appropriate footwear
3.30pm Bus ride to shore area and start of cleanup
5.30pm End cleanup & weigh trash; Start intertidal exploration
7.00pm End intertidal walk and carry trash to main road
7.15pm Wash up and bus ride to NEA office
7.30pm Dinner
9.00pm Depart from Semakau
10.00pm Arrive at Marina South Pier

Naval Diving Unit Project Eco-Frog @ Semakau, 30 Oct 2009

The Singapore Navy’s Naval Diving Unit turned up at Pulau Semakau on 30 Oct 2009 for Project Eco-Frog as part of their CSR effort for 2009.

96 NDU staff came ‘ashore’ on the NEA slipway via an open-top fast utility vessel.


Within minutes of the impressive landing, an operations command centre complete with medic station was set up and the various special focus teams (diving and shore) got busy with their CleanUp preparations.

Whilst some of the teams took turns to attend the landfill tour and video presentation by the ever-ready and friendly NEA Semakau operations staff, the diving teams un-rolled their zodiac inflatables which were duly filled with air and fitted with outboard motors and in no time at all, the boats were ready and in the water by the slipway.


The shore teams proceeded with the landfill tour and thereafter went straight for the Northern shore through the forest trail. There is an incredible amount of ‘marine’ trash which has accumulated on the Semakau shore over the years. These items do not originate from the landfill being operated by the National Environment Agency on Semakau but arrive as flotsam after being carried on visiting tides and ocean currents to the Semakau shore.  Some items have become buried in the sand over the years or have been blown by the coastal winds further inland to become lodged below the dense vegetation of the coastal shrubs and trees.

Although the tide was rather high at about 2.0m at 10am, the shore teams managed to make swift work of the strand line debris. These encompass plastic bottles, glass beverage bottles both whole or broken in pieces, detergent or chemical containers, styrofoam bits, plastic sheeting, tires, abandoned fishing nets, food wrapping, and various other mainly plastic material which have floated in with the daily tides.

Care had to be taken navigating the shore as there were occasional broken glass pieces amongst the pebbles and rocks. Some areas also had an unusually high concentration of wooden material which seemed to blanket the natural shore thus preventing the growth of mangrove vegetation.  Many of the wooden planks had rusty nails in them and so these were removed as well as they posed a safety concern to anyone walking on the shore.

working hard



The diving teams had some success at their dive sites just off Semakau’s amazing seagrass lagoon and the reef fringing it although the particular sites showed no significant build up of debris. Hopefully, the rest of Semakau’s deeper waters are in just as good a condition. Their condition can only be ascertained after further dive recce trips.

All the bagged items were removed by the zodiacs from the shore direct to the slipway. This proved a much more efficient way of transferring the trash. The alternative would involve carrying the numerous heavy bags a long long walk down the shore and through the forest trail to the landfill service road.

In total, Project Eco-Frog saw 96 staff removing 96 trash bags filled with 455 kg of waste material in about 1.5 hours. This was enough to fill the NEA bulldozer’s grab!

NEA Bulldozer

This is indeed a great first effort and will go some way towards ensuring that the Semakau shore is better looked after and its various interrelated ecosystem components will continue to thrive for years to come.

Thank you NDU!

NDU !!!

Related links:

The first ICCS Pulau Semakau cleanup: the Tide Chaser blogs

The first ICCS at Pulau Semakau!

“After picking up the rubbish, we had the tedious task of carrying them back to the collection point. For the group at the furthest zone, it was lugging over 20kg worth of rubbish each for almost 1.5km!”

Phew! See the Tide Chaser’s blog – link.

Congratulations to HSBC, RMBR Nature Guides and MEWR!