Singapore Paddle Club (SPC) @ Pulau Tekukor clears some 30 bags of trash

Kelly Ong, ICCS South Zone Captain writes,

On the morning of 13th Sept 2014, a passionate team of 22 environmental heros from the Singapore Paddle Club (SPC), lead by Rob Palmer, gave their routine paddle training a deeper meaning by conducting a beach cleanup at Singapore’s Southern island Pulau Tekukor! Whilst this island is inaccessible to public visitors, it is still plagued by much marine trash brought in by the tides.

The cleanup was a huge success after a morning’s hard work and everyone beamed with pride after clearing close to 30 bags of trash which consisted of mostly plastic water bottles as well as abandoned fishing nets that pose a serious threat to marine wildlife. The bags of trash were then painstakingly transported to St John’s Island to be disposed of properly by Sentosa Development Corporation.

The paddling heros ended their cleanup in high spirits. The International Coastal Cleanup Singapore team salutes to their great efforts and we look forward to more of such cleanups to come from SPC!

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Microplastics in Singapore’s mangroves

Nur Hazimah Mohamed Nor, Jeffrey Philip Obbard, 2014. Microplastics in Singapore’s coastal mangrove ecosystems. Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 79 (1–2): 278-283, ISSN 0025-326X, []

Abstract: The prevalence of microplastics was studied in seven intertidal mangroves habitats of Singapore. Microplastics were extracted from mangrove sediments via a floatation method, and then counted and categorized according to particle shape and size. Representative microplastics from Berlayar Creek, Sungei Buloh, Pasir Ris and Lim Chu Kang were isolated for polymer identification using Attenuated Total Reflectance–Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR–FTIR) spectroscopy.

Microplastics were identified in all seven habitats, with the highest concentration found in sediments at Lim Chu Kang in the northwest of Singapore. The majority of microplastics were fibrous and smaller than 20 μm. A total of four polymer types were identified, including polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon and polyvinyl chloride.

The relationship between abundance of microplastics and sediment grain size was also investigated, but no relationship was apparent. The presence of microplastics is likely due to the degradation of marine plastic debris accumulating in the mangroves.

Thanks Fabiano Barreto and Sam Judd for the alert!

A short walk to the sin bin – the trash-filled channel of Lim Chu Kang East mangrove

The North-West Zone of the International Coastal Cleanup is tackled by motivated groups led by experienced and/or capable Organisers.

Last Saturday, I hobbled into a little of pocket of mangrove in Lim Chu Kang East with Organisers from Bachelor of Environmental Studies of the National University of Singapore (NUS BES) and Singapore Land Authority’s Environment Engagement Group (SLA EEG).

Within the LCK East mangrove patch is a channel which is regularly filled with marine trash form the Johor Straits. It is a senseless announcement to the world about an uncaring and ignorant people.

A long time ago, this channel was carved out to create the road we used to walk in to the mangrove. Although ghastly when filled with rubbish, I was delighted – the channel serves as a marine trash trap. Instead of spreading over a wider area and onto more sensitive parts of the mangrove, harmful debris is consolidated into the channel.

This small area will be tackled by valiant volunteers during the International Coastal Cleanup by some 230 volunteers over two days:

  • Wed 18 Sep 2013: NUS BES ENV2101 (50) & SLA Environment Engagement Club (30)
  • Singapore American School (75); NUS ESESC (50); Raffles Museum Toddycats (25)

For the NUS BES group, the cleanup is scheduled as a practical session in ENV2101 Global Environmental Change,a module coordinated by my friend Dr. J. C. Mendoza. We figured it is critical for our students to sink their hands into the debris and realise the extent of the problem, as they collect, categorise and dispose the trash. The following week, we will discuss technical aspects of the problem with the data from the session.

At the site with them will be the Environment Engagement Club from SLA. The Organisers, Joanne and Juliana joined us for the recce.

Organiser’s from SLA’s Environment Engagement Club
are more than ready for this mission

A country lane leads to a secret world

Precious bits of mangrove pepper our north-west coast

A channel covered with marine trash, which has floated in from the Straits of Johor

JC Mendoza and I agree – undergraduates form the
Bachelor of Environmental Studies deserve a challenge
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A little less “styrofoam”? Or rather, expanded polystyrene (EPS),
this is plague on our shores

Volunteers gather at six spots around the island

Final round of International Coastal Cleanup Singapore operations today as the tide recedes in the afternoon at Tanah Merah, Pasir Ris, Sungei Ubin, Berlayar Creek, Kranji Bund and Lim Chu Kang mangrove.


Gathering at Pasir Ris 6 for the pre-cleanup briefing. Photo by Yang Yi Yong.

Sent from my iPhone

Eco warriors Unfazed by Gloomy Weather at Pandan Mangrove!

Dark, cloudy sky and a light drizzle did not deter 84 volunteers from springing into cleanup action at Pandan Mangrove!

This year’s warriors include veteran groups – Raffles Museum Toddycats, NUS Biodiversity Crew, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) plus two new organisations to the site – EARTHlink NTU and FMC Technologies.

As this remnant strip of mangrove in south-west Singapore is a fragile habitat, we sub-divided the site this year into 4 different sectors for the respective organisations to tackle, so as to minimise impact on the mangrove and to allow for a wider area to be combed.

Plastic bags, food containers and plastic beverage bottles made up the majority of items collected. Whilst there were much less illegally dumped trash like tyres and household appliances this time, we still found several large PVC plastic pipes, long wires and even abandoned mattresses and pillows!

Gorgeously muddy legs and booties! Photo by Amanda Tan.

Two young little heroes of the WRS team brought much joy and energy to the site with their enthusiasm and readiness to help in any way they could – certainly an inspiring sight.

Photo by Desmond Ling (WRS).

NUS and Raffles Museum group this year was small, but the 10 folks gave their all by treading deep into the mud to wipe out any trash in sight! Special thanks to Meryl Theng who offered to help as organiser for the group at the 11th hour and took everything in stride. New friendships were built and we certainly had a great workout!

NUS team – Top left: Amanda, Yi Jun, Meryl, Shiv, Wei Yu, Venus and Thiri.
Bottom left: Aloysius, Nasrul, Rini, Kelly. Photo by Amanda Tan.

A big thank you to all organisers who made this cleanup a success and we certainly look forward to your participation next year!

Photo by Desmond Ling (WRS).

Which shores are we at for the coastal cleanup?

Some 70 groups are distributed around the island on a similar number of sites around the island in six zones. The ICCS Status Sheet at reflects the various groups.

Tomorrow we will update this sheet to indicate data submission, verification and publication.

“Our journey to the mangrove coast at Lim Chu Kang”

Our journey to the mangrove coast at Lim Chu Kang

The place was serene and magnificent.

It was my first time there, for the International Coastal Cleanup 2009. Our organiser, Amy Choong, is a very inspiring leader. She explained our objective of being there as green ambassadors cleaning up the mangrove.

Armed up with shopping bags, gloves, data cards, it was 36 Republic students and 2 facilitators in all, and we were in high spirits.

Trudging through the thick mud, I began picking up artificial objects that were not supposed to be there.

Plastics, oil drums, fishing nets, ropes are some of the many non-biodegradable things that me and the others found. Maybe nature has it is a second chance to relive itself from destruction as we, humans were trying our best to help get Nature free from those plastics, metal, rubbery materials.

The important lesson we learnt so far is we should not carelessly throw our unwanted items such as can drinks, refrigerator to the ground, soil or drainage system as these items were brought back to the sea. If we can work this out, things will improve and life will be more meaningful and pleasant to think about.

The sea contains a rich ecosystem that is precious to us. We should not abandon our beaches and mangroves to their destruction – this was an eye-opening experience that could never be felt within my comfort zone.

The event was truly a SUCCESS. We feel the strong urgency to help raise awareness of our vulnerable coast. 

By Nur Afiqah Bte Mohd Azman, Republic Polytechnic

See the photo album of the cleanup Lim Chu Kang mangroves on Flickr – link.

Punggol Squeaky Clean

The cause? 47 volunteers from Queensway Secondary School. Total estimated weight of trash collected = 193kg.

The volunteers were from uniformed groups — Girl Guides, National Cadet Corps and National Police Cadet Corps. The volunteers started at 9.30am, tough and efficient they were, they combed the beach and finished the cleanup in less than 1.5hours.

Doing a cleanup in Punggol is never about brute force. The Punggol shoreline is littered with rocks covered with barnacles and most of the marine debris is trapped in between the rocks. Huge amount of effort and energy is needed to dislodge or remove them.

Five secondary-3 girl guides were appointed as Site Buddies for the cleanup. They were involved in helping the teachers-in-charge oversee the site, and consolidation of data – they did a great job!

After taking group photos, and a debrief by their teacher-in-charge, Miss Latifah, the cleanup ended with a loud cheer.

Cheers for Queensway, cheers for organisers, and cheers for the volunteers!

We want to hear about your cleanup!

We hope to hear about your experiences of the cleanup – fun photos, stories, videos or simply the joy of taking action in the company of the international community. Have fun trying out the various methods and keep some memories of the event on the net:

How you can contribute to the news:
    1. Email us – long or short, do email us your thoughts, stories and attach photos! Your post will be converted to a blog post almost immediately [email:]
    2. If you already have online accounts – blog, post photos or videos online then let us know so that we can highlight your contributions [email:]
    3. We can post up your photos – send us your photos by email; if they are large, use yousendit []; they will go up on our Flickr Pro album [email:
    4. Twitter about your cleanup experience – just include the word "coastalcleanup" in your tweet and it will be displayed on our webpage and appear in twitter searches. 
    How you can listen to the news (news, data, photos and blog posts):
    1. Follow the chatter on twitter (this will pick up international chatter as well):
    2. Follow the blog or its RSS feed:
    3. Check ou webpage for updates:
    On both 12th and 19th September 2009, the ICCS coordinators will return from sites around Singapore to NUS to process the data, write accounts and upload photos from sites around Singapore. 

    Have a great cleanup!

    Posted via email from International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

    Areas we are NOT collecting data from

    Although we'd like to cover our shoreline completely and there are willing hands to do it, not all of Singapore's shoreline will be tackled during this year's International Coastal Cleanup Singapore. During the Site Buddy Briefing last Saturday, I pointed out that there are areas of the shoreline which are either wired-off industrial areas or under the army's jurisdiction, or reclaimed coastlines which are not yet safe for work. Also, Kallang Basin is now a reservoir.

    I plotted a map of the cleanup areas earlier this week and it is ongoing work. For now, a point may represent several sites I am updating this over time as it will be pressed into service mainly at the beginning of next year. For now, at least, everyone knows where to go! 

    We have identified some areas for detailed recces for the 2010 data-gathering cleanup and have plans to look for a couple more which after a few years require a re-recce. 

    Many groups were turned away this year which we introduce to new spots. Also year-round cleanups will be announced once we have talked to relevant park managers with non-recreational beaches which require help.

    You can take a look at the Google Map which is being updated at:

    Posted via email from International Coastal Cleanup Singapore