Join us @ Tanah Merah 7 on Sat 17 Sep 2016 as part of 25th International Coastal Cleanup Singapore!

On Sat 17 Sep 2016, more than half a million volunteers around the world will participate in the 31st International Coastal Cleanup! And as the sun rises over Singapore, some 3,500 volunteers from 80 organisations will hit the beaches and mangroves of Singapore in what will be our 25th year!

If you are not from an organisation or group but want to be part of the 25th ICC Singapore, look no further – join the NUS Toddycats & Independents team who will battle marine trash at Tanah Merah 7. We join five other organisations on that 900 metre long beach on Sat 17 Sep 2016: 8.00am – 11.00am.

Register through this link
Please sign up by 31st August 2016

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Why Cleanup? In Singapore, our coastlines host a vast amount of biodiversity. Trash present in these areas can impact our wildlife adversely and devalue the natural beauty of the landscape. Volunteers in Singapore, like other concerned individuals around the world, conduct coastal cleanups to remove this trash, raise awareness about the impact of marine trash, and motivate us to adopt sustainable practises in daily urban living.

Tanah Merah Beach 7 is a state land located in the east of Singapore, next to the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT). This area is closed to members of the public and permission is needed for each access. The coastline of Tanah Merah 7 is alive with critters, big and small – read more about it here.

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But amidst creatures lie heaps of plastic and styrofoam.

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If you want to know more about what to expect on the day, see photos from ICCS 2014!

Come join us to make a difference on these shores!

Itinerary 

  • 7:30am – Meet at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal Car Park D (take SBS bus no 35 from Tanah Merah MRT).
  • 8.00am – Operational & Safety Briefing including wet weather plans (stop for lighting); identification of the Trash Disposal Point (TDP). Organise into groups of four participants, apply insect repellant, collect gloves and trash bags; walk to site.
  • 8.15am – Cleanup begins @ TM7 Beach
  • 8.30am – Trash movement to TCP by Weighing Teams begin
  • 9.45am – Cleanup ends. Weigh trash, report data summary (under shade!); discussion/ reflection.
  • 10.15am – Transportation of trash to TDP.
  • 11.00am – Group photos at Car park D. Toilets are available at the Ferry Terminal building.
  • 11.15am – Event ends

Things to note

  1. Gloves, trash bags and weighing scales are provided.
  2. You must wear hard-soled covered shoes or booties to to protect your feet from hazards. Without appropriate footwear, you will not be allowed on the site. 
  3. A change of clothes is recommended after a sweaty workout.
  4. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites, but bermudas are fine if you are tolerant or unaffected.
  5. If there is a drizzle, we will continue the cleanup with our wet weather gear. If there are strong winds or lightning threat, we will halt the event.

Things to bring:

  1. Water bottle (with at least one litre of water)
  2. Hat and/or sun block
  3. Reusable raincoat/poncho or umbrella
  4. Towel to wipe off sand and mud

Be prepared:

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a decent breakfast – it’s a hard morning’s work!
  3. Be punctual – we are unable to wait for latecomers; the tide waits for no one!
  4. Refer to this recce report of TM7 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 the environment!

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NUS’ Ridge View Residential College Chinese New Year coastal cleanup @ TM7 – 204kg of trash removed by 38 students and staff [22 Feb 2016]

On the blazing hot afternoon of 22 February 2016, 38 students and staffs from the NUS Ridge View Residential College (RVRC) conducted a coastal cleanup at Tanah Merah Site 7, a non-recreational beach located adjacent to the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. They removed 29 trash bags of marine trash weighing 204kg.

This cleanup is a feature of the college’s GEM1917 module “Understanding and Critiquing Sustainability”, but more importantly, it is a part of raising awareness of the marine debris problem and its harmful impacts on the environment.

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An astounding number of expanded polystyrene (styrofoam) pieces, plastic bottles, plastic pieces, glass bottles, cigarette lighters, slippers and toys were found at the beach.

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Several bulky items such as a rope and a television were also seen on the beach, some of which were embedded deeply in the sand. These trash require strategic removal with much effort and patience. It was a test of the participants’ teamwork spirit and I’m glad they made it!

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With a low tide of 0.9m at 4.00pm, participants were able to explore the intertidal shore and remove trash deposited by the tide. Marine life such as the carpet anemone was encountered by some. What a great reminder to us that the shore is teeming with life and that cleanups are crucial to keep the shore a habitable one for them.

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Keeping track of time, the participants began to weigh and transport the trash bags out after 90 minutes of cleanup. A total of 204kg in 29 trash bags were removed from the beach!

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At the end of the day, all of the participants left with a smiley face. Well done, RVRC! Thank you for protecting the marine environment and please continue to do so!

More photos and a video of the cleanup are available for viewing.

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Be part of the 30th International Coastal Cleanup – join us @ Tanah Merah 7, Singapore on Sat 19 Sep 2015!

On Sat 19 Sep 2015, more than half a million volunteers around the world will participate in the 30th International Coastal Cleanup! And as the sun rises over Singapore, some 3,500 volunteers from 68 different organisations will hit the beaches and mangroves of Singapore in what will be our 24th year!

If you are not from an organisation or group but want to be part of ICC Singapore 2015, look no further – join the NUS Toddycats & Independents team who will battle marine trash at Tanah Merah 7. We join five other organisations on that 900 metre long beach on Sat 19 Sep 2015: 8.00am – 11.00am.

Registration has closed! Thanks for indicating your interest.
Transport will be provided from Tanah Merah MRT, so please sign up early

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Why Cleanup? In Singapore, our coastlines host a vast amount of biodiversity. Trash present in these areas can impact our wildlife adversely and devalue the natural beauty of the landscape. Volunteers in Singapore, like other concerned individuals around the world, conduct coastal cleanups to remove this trash, raise awareness about the impact of marine trash, and motivate us to adopt sustainable practises in daily urban living.

Tanah Merah Beach 7 is a state land located in the east of Singapore, next to the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT). This area is closed to members of the public and permission is needed for each access. The coastline of Tanah Merah 7 is alive with critters, big and small – read more about it here.

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But amidst creatures lie heaps of plastic and styrofoam.

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If you want to know more about what to expect on the day, see photos from ICCS 2014!

Come join us to make a difference on these shores!

Itinerary 

  • 7:30am – Transport from Tanah Merah MRT to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal Car Park (meeting point).
  • 8.00am – Briefing and identification of the Trash Disposal Point (TDP). Wet weather plans (stop for lighting threat). Organise into groups of four participants, apply insect repellant, collect gloves and trash bags; walk to site.
  • 8.15am – Cleanup begins @ TM7 Beach
  • 9.30am – Cleanup end. Weigh trash, report data summary (under shade!); discussion/ reflection.
  • 10.00am – Transportation of trash to TDP.
  • 10.30am – Participants clean up. Toilets are available at the Ferry Terminal building.
  • 10.45am – Event ends; bus leaves from Tanah Merah MRT.

Things to note

  1. Gloves, trash bags and weighing scales are provided.
  2. You must wear hard-soled covered shoes or booties to to protect your feet from hazards. Without appropriate footwear, you will not be allowed on the site.
  3. A change of clothes is recommended after a sweaty workout.
  4. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites, but bermudas are fine if you are tolerant or unaffected.
  5. If there is a drizzle, we will continue the cleanup with our wet weather gear. If there are strong winds or lightning threat, we will halt the event.

Things to bring:

  1. Water bottle (with at least one litre of water)
  2. Hat and/or sun block
  3. Reusable raincoat/poncho or umbrella
  4. Towel to wipe off sand and mud

Be prepared:

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a decent breakfast – it’s a hard morning’s work!
  3. Be punctual – we are unable to wait for latecomers; the tide waits for no one!
  4. Refer to this recce report of TM7 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 the environment!

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Shocked by FIVE kg of straws @ Tanah Merah Beach 7 – the World Environment Day Coastal Cleanup

On Saturday 6th June 2015, 52 participants removed more than 632kg of trash in 89 trash bags at Tanah Merah Beach 7. After an introduction to the site and procedural briefing, ICCS Deputy Coordinator Kai Scene conducted a comprehensive safety briefing.2015-06-06 08.10.28

ICCS Dy Coord Ng Kai Scene conducting the safety briefing before the cleanup

Straws stood out that day at Tanah Merah Beach 7. I overheard a few comments about the numerous straws on the beach and decided to focus on collecting straws alone. I ended up with a whopping 5kg of straws!

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As they cleaned the beach, participants observed the biodiversity at Tanah Merah Beach. The intertidal zone was covered in Tape seagrass (Enhalus Acoroides), and Batillaria snails (Batillaria zonalis), as well as burrows created by Sand bubbler crabs (Scopimera sp.) and Ghost crabs (Ocypode sp.)! I counted 24 casts from the Acorn Worm (Enteropneusta sp.), and 15 Haddon’s Carpet Anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni).

Furthermore, the low morning tide of 0.2m allowed us to witness the beautiful coral reefs of Tanah Merah! Sandpaper corals (Psammocora sp.), Galaxy corals (Galaxea sp.), Pore corals (Porites sp.), Anemone corals (Goniopora sp.), and Favid Corals (family Faviidae) have been reported from here. Read more about the living reefs of Tanah Merah on Ria Tan’s blog post.

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After 90 minutes, we began to weigh the trash bags and formed a human chain to move them from the beach to the Trash Collection Point at the carpark. later that afternoon, a contractor detached by NEA’s Department of Public Cleanliness would later collect them. Everyone worked really hard together to transport the trash efficiently!

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With the hard work of the day accomplished, we debriefed the participants at the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, and discussed everyday solutions to reduce waste generation. Avoiding disposables by bringing your own tumbler and lunchbox begins to make a difference. Refusing a straw for your drink – and encouraging your friends and family to do the same begins to get us to think about upstream solutions.

These actions help us  reduce the amount of waste we send to incinerators in Singapore, but also begins to address our throw-away culture.

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Some of the 44 participants with the 89 bags of trash!

Congratulations to everyone who came down for the world Environment Day cleanup. See you at the next cleanup!

Celebrate World Environment Day with a coastal cleanup @ Tanah Merah 7!

In conjunction with World Environment Day, volunteers with International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) will be conducting a marine trash cleanup at Tanah Merah Beach 7 on Sat 06 Jun 2015: 8.00am – 10.30am.

Registration is closed, thank you to everyone who signed up!

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World Environment Day is a day sanctioned by the United Nations (UN) that aims to raise global awareness about the environment and encourage everyone to take positive action to protect our natural environment.

Why Cleanup? In Singapore, our coastlines host a vast amount of biodiversity. Trash present in these areas can impact our wildlife adversely and devalue the natural beauty of the landscape. Volunteers in Singapore, like other concerned individuals around the world, conduct coastal cleanups to remove this trash, raise awareness about the impact of marine trash, and motivate us to adopt sustainable practises in daily urban living.

Tanah Merah Beach 7 is state land located in the east of Singapore, next to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT). This area is closed to members of the public and permission is needed for access .

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At first view, Tanah Merah Beach 7 appears pristine. However, within the vegetation of the high strandline lies accumulated trash.

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Meeting Point: On the event day of 6th June 2015, we will meet at 7.45am at Carpark D opposite the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT), and walk over to the cleanup site.

Directions from Tanah Merah MRT to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT)

  • Participants can take bus 35 from the Tanah Merah MRT bus stop (bus code: 85091).
  • Alight 4 stops later, at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal bus stop (bus code: 96219).
  • Yang Yiyong (see image below) will be stationed at the TMFT bus stop, so alight when you see him! He will be wearing a bright red shirt.

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Directions to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT)

Itinerary 

  • 7:45am – We meet at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal carpark, and walk over to the cleanup site together.
  • 8.00am – Briefing and identification of Trash Collection Point (TCP). Brief of wet weather plans (which is to carry on unless there is a lighting threat). Organise everyone into groups of four, apply insect repellant, collect gloves, trash bags, and other required logistics.
  • 8.15am – Cleanup begins @ TM7 Beach
  • 9.30am – End of clean-up. Trash is weighed and discussion/ reflection time.
  • 9.45am – Transportation of trash to TCP.
  • 10.15am – Participants clean up. Recreational facilities are available at the nearby Ferry Terminal.
  • 10.30am – Event ends.

Things to note

  1. Gloves, trash bags and weighing scales are provided.
  2. You must wear hard-soled covered shoes or booties to to protect your feet from hazards.
  3. A change of clothes is recommended after a sweaty workout.
  4. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites, but bermudas are fine.
  5. In the event of bad weather, we will continue the cleanup. The event will stop in the case of lightning threat.

Things to bring:

  1. Water bottle (with at least one litre of water)
  2. Hat and/ or sun block
  3. Reusable raincoat/ poncho
  4. Towel to wipe off sand and mud

Be prepared:

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a decent 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 TM7 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 the environment!

Battling the curse of marine litter – a challenge we will face with determination!

I joined the ICCS team as the IKEA Intern in early February but had yet to experience an actual cleanup until the Tanah Merah Chinese New Year Coastal Cleanup! As part of the GEM1917 Understanding And Critiquing Sustainability module, RVRC student volunteers were led by their lecturer and ICCS Coordinator, N Sivasothi aka Otterman to Tanah Merah Beach 7 on Thursday 26th February 2015.

Toddycats SG50 Interns Sankar and Lynn joined me on this important outing as we spent the morning with students and lecturers, inserted ourselves into wild pandan and other coastal plants, indefatigably pulling out the plastic bottles and styrofoam bits insulting our shores!

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After the safety briefing and collection of logistics by students, we walked to the Tanah Merah beach, which initially appeared untainted, except for a few plastic bags and bottles.

Lynn thought to herself, “what are we going to clean up? Seaweed?”

Once we looked into the coastal forest, however, we were appalled by the countless number of disposable bottles, styrofoam bits, ropes and fishing nets littered the forest floor.

At once we spread ourselves along the beach and began working – calling out the type and number of trash items to the data collector, and storing everything in the heavy duty trash bags. Some volunteers dove into the wild pandan to retrieve the bottles, bottles and more bottles buried amongst the roots and underneath leaf litter.

Sankar later said, “despite trying to help Mother Nature out, she seemed to be working against us. We were assaulted by colonies of ants, sharp Pandanus leaves and a hot sun!”

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The presence of various polymers, be it styrofoam or plastic was harrowing! Even more distressing were the tiny bits of styrofoam that had broken down into pieces less than 5mm in size. These were impossible to completely remove from the strandline – they were interspersed amongst leaf litter and roots and buried in soil and sand. We tried our best to pick up the tiny pieces, but there was a limit to what we could do.

“It really is frustrating to think that people will so casually dispose of styrofoam into the sea, where they will break apart and either be ingested by fish or litter the beaches,” Lynn protested.

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The antidote to the distressing scene was the view of students and lecturers working hard non-stop throughout the beach, removing trash with a determination. It certainly did give us a glimmer of hope.

“Lynn said “it was heartwarming to see everyone work hard together to do their part for the environment.”

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The other glimmer of hope was the persistent presence of marine life – amidst the busy work, we saw land hermit crabs, a carpet anemone (attached to a plastic bag), and a thunder crab! Nature’s persistence in the face of pollution is something we should respond to.

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We removed some 6,700 items weighing more than 386 kg of trash, consisting mostly of single use plastics a 50 kg 50 metre rope! All that trash piled into 43 trash bags from just 90 minutes of activity made us pause to reflect on many of the things we do on a daily basis – I overheard an RVRC student say he’d never use styrofoam boxes again!

“It made me realize the seriousness of human actions on the environment at a closer basis.”
– RVRC Student Wong Shuyii

“I cannot say I “enjoyed” our morning at the beach. The words that come to mind are more like “gobsmacked”, “shocked”… Very educational for me personally. So thanks very much for that.”
– Lecturer, Hugh Anderson

Tanah Merah Beach 7 is a non-recreational beach and the piles of trash recruited everyday is a symptom of the larger problem of marine trash in our oceans. It is critical that we reflect on our actions and make a change to our lifestyles, share the message and ideas about battling this curse which ails the planet.

And it begins with the very small things – do we really need that plastic straw? Or that bottled water?

ICCS will continue to organise beach and mangrove cleanups for immediate relief to the habitat and for long-term educational impact. Physically though, the extent of marine pollution is immense and will require more ideas, action, influence and lots of determination!

Sankar felt “we as a society need to take a good hard look at where our trash goes. I hope that one day, ICCS will not be necessary to keep our shores clean.”

Making a positive change for our oceans is a tough goal, but we will meet this challenge with determination!

A Chinese New Year Coastal Cleanup @ Tanah Merah 7 with NUS’ RVRC!

On 26th of February 2015, 35 students and staff from Ridge View Residential College, National University of Singapore conducted a Chinese New Year Coastal Cleanup at Tanah Merah Beach 7. This date had been carefully picked last December by RVRC lecturer and also ICCS coordinator, N Sivasothi. aka Otterman, who was very pleased with the outcome.

The team worked tirelessly for two hours, and survived attacks by ant colonies and the slashing of wild pandan! The hard work paid off with 386 kg of trash in 43 large bags of trash, including a 50kg giant rope! There were also oil containers, a mountain of styrofoam and lots and lots of plastic bottles dominating the data card which saw moe than 5,000 pieces of marine trash removed forever from Tanah Merah 7.

What a great way to celebrate the Chinese New Year!

RVRC briefing at TM7
Briefing about Tanah Merah and the marine trash challenge by the student’s lecturer, ICCS Coordinator, N. Sivasothi

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Several groups, including Professor Anderson fought their way into the wild pandan, tolerating the cuts, to reach marine trash on the high strand line.

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Plastic pieces with sharp edges will cause harm to animals if ingested, as it can puncture gastronomical tracts leaving animals to die.

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Indomitably tackling a sand-filled drum!

Nature will find a way – on this reclaimed shore, peppered with marine trash, marine life persists – land hermit crabs, carpet anemone and thunder crabs fascinated students.

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We saw five hermit crabs and one was nestling on a plastic bag. As hermit crabs grow bigger, they change their shells, changing to larger ones which can protect the retracted body. So don’t pick shells on the beach, you may be depriving a hermit crab a potential home.

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A sea anemone was found attached to a plastic bag. This group of students remove it from the plastic bag successfully! Carpet anemone share a mutualistic relationship with single-celled algae known as zooxanthellae. The algae is able to photosynthesise, i.e. produce food from sunlight, and this food is also consumed by the anemone. In turn, the algae receives shelter from the anemone.

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Thunder Crab! Legend has it that if you were unfortunate enough to be pinched by this crab, only a clap of thunder will force it to release its pincers and let you go. In reality, contact with the ground and an escape route will persuade the crab to let you go.

To find out more about marine life in Singapore, visit http://www.wildsingapore.com

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Weighing the trash and data collection. Spring balances are used to weigh trash bags. The total weight today amounted to 386 kg.

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A human chain was formed to transport the trash bags to the Trash Collection Point (TCP), for the NEA contractor to collect and dispose of eventually.

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Half of the trash bags load from the morning with more on the way!

Our next coastal cleanup in conjunction with World Water Day, will be conducted on 21 March 2015 at Sungei Pandan mangrove. Mangrove cleanups are a different experience and the fauna and flora is different too. For information about this cleanup, see News from ICCS

Thanks to everyone for their effort on the Chinese New Year coastal cleanup!

RVRC at TM7 group photo
The team back at NUS!