Be a part of the NUS–NParks Marine Debris Monitoring Programme!

TM7 trash 2017

Are you concern about marine trash and want to do more than just a cleanup? Then join us in the 2017–2019 NUS–NParks Marine Debris Monitoring Programme!

What is it about?
It is a citizen science programme that is recently initiated to engage volunteers, schools, and organizations with an interest to survey and collect data on marine debris found on Singapore’s beaches. Click on this link or the tab above to find out more!

What will we collect and why?
Data on both macro-debris (>5 mm) and microplastics (1 – 5 mm) will be collected from nine sites every month. These data collected would provide recommendations to decision-making by forming the national baseline of marine debris for Singapore and supplementing the annual ICCS data.

How can I get involved?
For individuals who are interested in participating in the data collection exercises, please sign up with this form to receive updates of monthly sampling events.

For schools / organisation, sign up with this form for the programme with 20‒60 participants and you will be guided through the data collection exercise. A research sampling kit and cleanup supplies could be loaned as required.

Join us in the upcoming sampling events!
No prior experience is required, just your interest! Briefing and sampling supplies would be provided.

  1. Beach at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal on 25 Nov 2017 (Sat) 8:30am – 11:30am: https://marinedebrissampling25nov2017.eventbrite.sg
  2. Changi Beach, Carpark 6 on 29 Nov 2017 (Wed) 8:30am – 11:30am: https://marinedebrissampling29nov2017.eventbrite.sg
  3. East Coast Park Area C on 30 Nov 2017 (Thu) 8:30am – 11:30am: https://marinedebrissampling30nov2017.eventbrite.sg
  4. Coney Island, Beach A on 02 Dec 2017 (Sat) 3:00pm – 6:00pm: https://marinedebrissampling02dec2017.eventbrite.sg

For more information on this programme, please contact Joleen at joleen.chan@nus.edu.sg

Thank you for caring for the coastal marine environment!

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Join us for a trial sampling of the NUS–NParks marine debris monitoring programme @ East Coast Park

Join us in a trial sampling of marine trash for the NUS–NParks marine debris research project at East Coast Park Area H, opposite National Service and Resort Country Club on 11 Nov 2017 (Sat), 8:30am – 11:00am!

Data on both macro-debris (>5 mm) and microplastics (1 – 5 mm) would be collected from 20 quadrats (2.5 m by 2.5 m) in a simple and systematic manner. Supplies such as trash bags, sieves and gloves would be provided. Your participation would help us improve our sampling method which would be used to establish the baseline data of marine trash in Singapore.

For more details and to sign up, visit the Eventbrite registration page!

ECP trash 2017

Itinerary:

  • 8.30am (15 min) – Safety and procedure briefing. Apply insect repellent, and distribution of gloves and trash bags.
  • 8.45am (60 min) – Set up quadrats and begin macro-debris collection.
  • 9.45am (40 – 60 min) – End of macro-debris sampling; Distribute sieves and begin sampling of microplastics / Categorisation, counting and data recording of macro-debris.
  • 10.45am (15 min) – End of microplastics sampling and data recording; Transport of trash bags to Trash Disposal Point; Debrief
  • 11.00am – End of event

Things to note:

  1. Cleanup supplies such as gloves, trash bags, and weighing scales will be provided.
  2. You must wear hard-soled covered shoes or booties to protect your feet from hazards, else you won’t be able to participate in the sampling. Slippers and sandals are not allowed.
  3. A change of clothes is recommended after a sweaty workout.
  4. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites.
  5. We will continue the sampling in rain (bring rain gear) but cease if there is threat of lightning.

Things to bring:

  1. Water bottle (with at least one litre of water)
  2. Hat, sun block and/or insect repellent
  3. Reusable raincoat/poncho (we will work in light rain)
  4. Change of clothes for public transpor

Be prepared:

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a decent breakfast – It’s hard work!
  3. Be punctual as the tide waits for no one!
  4. Please read our advice to participants to prepare yourself for the sampling exercise!

Thank you for your interest and see you on the beach!

 

ICCS volunteers spread awareness about marine trash at the Asia Dive Expo 2016!

16 & 17 April 2016 – ICCS volunteers had a busy weekend at the Asia Dive Expo (ADEX), the biggest dive expo in Asia, where we were invited to be part of the Singapore Pavilion.

“Organised by the Blue-Green Alliance and National Parks Board, the inaugural Singapore Pavilion celebrates the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park, Singapore’s first marine park, and showcases key milestones in Singapore.” [UW360]

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We were certainly glad to see friends from NParks, the Nature Society (Singapore) and Team Seagrass at the Singapore Pavilion.

Armed with newly-designed posters and photos, volunteers Liwah and Delicia arrived bright and early on Saturday morning, ready for action!

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The setup team on Saturday morning – Wong Liwah and Delicia Cheong!

The information at the ICCS booth was news to many members of the public. They were surprised at the amount of trash on our non-recreational beaches such as Tanah Merah 7. And that inspired some to take action immediately, by joining us at the upcoming “Operation WE Clean Up” on Sun 08 May 2016 at Lim Chu Kang mangrove. How heartening!

At the expo, we met other like-minded individuals. David McCann is an environmental officer at Scuba Junkie, a dive resort in Sabah. It was inspiring to hear how they encourage their guests to participate in their regular beach cleanups and how they offer talks on marine trash, shark and reef conservation. Lovely work!

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Joleen Chan chatting with David McCann, of Scuba-Junkie.

Most of the ICCS Educators were new and we are delighted we have an Education Team! The training session the week before prepared them for their engagement with the public. It was rewarding for them to be able to share stories about marine life and the impact of trash in Singapore to a public who were surprised at extent of pollution right here in Singapore.

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ICCS volunteers in action.

Well done Delicia Cheong, Fathanah Binti Muhammad Saleh, Joleen Chan, Wong Liwah, Sean Goh and Nur Shaalihah!

Joys Tan
ICCS-IKEA Intern

Participation in International Coastal Cleanup Singapore has doubled over a decade

Registration by Organisations for the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) in September this year will be open next week.

Looking back at participation in recent years (2010-2014), on the average some 3,500 ICCS volunteers from 70 organisations have worked 20,000 metres of Singapore’s shoreline, removing more than 180,00 pieces of trash in 2,200 trash bags weighing about 16,000kg.

Encouragingly, this has doubled since the last decade.

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There is plenty of work to do out on our shores, so this massive effort has been supplemented by an increasing number of year-round cleanups in the recent years. This has been and remains a wonderful contribution to the marine environment by volunteers in Singapore.

ICCS @ Festival of Biodiversity 2015: What can we do for our oceans?

27 & 28 June 2015 – With the help of passionate volunteers, ICCS headed down to VivoCity with the NUS Toddycats for Festival of Biodiversity 2015! The festival, an initiative by NParks and the Biodiversity Roundtable actively engages members of the public since 2012 to celebrate our local flora and fauna.

Do read more about the collective NUS Toddycats! effort at Festival of Biodiversity 2015 here!

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Left: Amanda Ng talking about the Dugong (Dugong dugon)
Right: Wu Bokai talking about the Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinerea)
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Left: Letchumi Mani shares about Horseshoe crabs on our shores (family: Limulidae)
Right: Fascinated by the Dugong!
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Left: Lesley Chng sharing about mangrove snakes
Right: Foo Maosheng holds up the majestic fruit of the Nipah palm (Nypa fruticans)
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Left: Max Khoo talking about the Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinerea) and sharing stories about the Smooth-coated Otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) in Singapore!
Right: Ng Kai Scene talking about the Giant Mudskipper in our mangroves (Periophthalmodon schlosseri)
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Left: Teo Kah Ming talking about the threat marine trash poses to our biodiversity
Right: Nishtha Anand talking about mangrove fishes!
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Left: Nicholas Yap talking about Stripe-nosed Halfbeak (Zenarchopterus buffonis)
Right: Sofina Ng sharing stories about the Dugong (Dugong dugon)

There were many more volunteers who spent the two days helping us spread messages from our seas, and we couldn’t be more grateful to them – they were up on their feet for hours, some nearly loosing their voice after constant talking!

Thank you to 34 wonderful volunteers who took different shifts throughout the two days: Theresa Su, Chris Zheng, Chua Li En Jacqueline, Erika Ivana Halim, Eyu Xue Yi, Kwok Yan Hoe, Lim Jin Hong, Low Xiang Hui, Lynette Ying, Mah Guo Wei, Max Khoo De Yuan, Neo Meng Yang, Ng Chao Xiang, Ng Kai Scene, Ng Wei Ling Amanda, Nur Azarina Khamis, Ong Yue Qi, Seah Shi Qi Cheyanne, Seah Shi’en Maryann, Sofina Ng, Steffi Loe, Tan Shiao Ying, Teo Kia Meng, Vincent Ong, Wang Jialun, Wong Siew Lien, Yang Yi Yong, Nicholas Yap, Nishtha Anand, Teo Kah Ming, Lesley Chng, Foo Maosheng, and Letchumi Mani. Lastly, thank you to Ng Chao Xiang and Adriane Lee for helping us with photography!

These outreach events hold great significance in the nature community. Not only does it bring everyone together with the common goal of raising awareness about our natural habitats, but also gives us an opportunity to interact with members of the public and encourage a greater appreciation for local biodiversity. Preparation for such events may be tiring, but after two days of being able to share what we are passionate about, we can definitely say it’s worth it!

Here’s to Festival of Biodiversity 2016 next year!

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!

The first ICCS Volunteers’ Meeting 2015 – encouraged by new and experienced volunteers!

Friday evening (20 Mar 2015) @ NUS Life Sciences Lab 7 – The International Coastal Cleanup Singapore coordinators held our first Volunteers’ Meeting of the year. Zone Captains welcomed 14 new enthusiastic volunteers, introduced themselves to them and spent the night discussing the structure of ICCS and potential roles volunteers could play within ICCS.

Although the big event on 19 Sep 2015 seems to be a long time away, coordination has to begin early as there are recees, access permissions to obtain, training workshops for Organisers and other duties to execute. Entirely volunteer-run, we put out a call for help in early March. Individuals who share a desire to rid our shorelines of harmful marine trash and educate individuals and groups responded.

ICCS Volunteer Briefing 2015
Sivasothi a.k.a. Otterman , who has been coordinating coastal cleanups since 1997, begins the session.

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A vibrant atmosphere with meaningful conversation and determined spirits!

We were heartened by young Tamara Wise, who accompanied by her father, Jeremy was already engaged over the global issue of marine trash. She shared with us her motivation for joining ICCS and her frustration with water pollution – the impact of her teacher, Ms Gammon, was evident. Her desire for action illustrates the power of education in exposing and motivating young individuals about important issues.

Zhong Zhi from Geylang Methodist Secondary School is already organizing cleanups for his classmates at 15 years old! He discussed plans for a cleanup at East Coast Park, which he hopes to conduct after his exams. Meanwhile, he is joining us for Year-Round Coastal Cleanups to learn the ropes.

Volunteers Maludin, Li Choo and Madeline, who are already experienced participants or Organisers. They feel strongly about environmental issues and intend to take action. They would be invaluable in helping to coordinate the 24th year of International Coastal Cleanup in Singapore. Together with new ICCS volunteers Dada, Angel, Uttara, Xieheng, Hung, Chamila, Fanghui and Elizabeth, we hope they will reach out to many more communities and empower individuals to take ownership of the natural environment in Singapore!

Here’s to ICCS 2015!