Help throw out the trash this Chinese New Year with a Coastal Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove on Saturday 4th Feb 2017: 7.45am – 11.00am. Join us in extending some tender loving care to one of our precious mangrove fragments in Singapore. But you will need to ready for hard work, properly fitted out and ready for action – this is not for the faint-hearted!
Sun 08 May 2016 – 39 volunteers joined us early the morning for the “Operation WE Cleanup” at Lim Chu Kang mangrove. This movement is led by the Public Hygiene Council (PHC) to encourage Singaporeans to play a role in keeping our environment clean and we were glad that ICCS could support it!
Collectively, we removed a total of 403.5kg of trash (in 56 bags) over a 90 minute cleanup, leaving the beach looking so much healthier! There were lots of plastic bottles, straws, bags and styrofoam pieces of a variety of sizes. Where do you think they came from?
An exposed used syringe was carefully disposed – it is important that sharp objects be disposed properly and responsibly, to protect everyone who will handle the trash all the way to the incinerator. This is something we reinforce in every safety briefing prior to the cleanup – see Safety Advice for Participants on our website, which dates back to the 90’s!
Medium trash load at Lim Chu Kang mangrove. I’ve found so many plastic straws within a small area!
North-West Zone Captain, Adriane Lee.
During the cleanup, Adriane Lee chanced upon two mangrove pit vipers. Although venomous, like every other animal, they will not attack unless provoked. We kept our distance but encouraged everyone to enjoy the lovely view of the snakes on the tree. It certainly is important to be aware of our surroundings during a mangrove cleanup and watch where you place your hands and legs –points we cover in the safety briefing !
The success of this and every other cleanup was due of course to our lovely team of volunteers who worked hard and were so responsive to coordination. It is a real joy to work with them and we are encouraged to organise more of these cleanups together!
Happy volunteers in action – Part 1
Happy volunteers in action – Part 2
Otterman shows how we work steadily on a patch of mangrove: leave organics (including sand and mud) behind, and separate out glass”
Otterman sets up weighing stations with our lovely, obliging volunteers
During our Year Round Coastal Cleanups, we end with a debrief of the trash collected, type of trash and share information about the site, from its historical use to the present day and its conservation status. Our ICCS coordinator Otterman (N. Sivasothi), also identified ways in participants can reduce trash at home or at the workplace.
Sharing our experience with others is also important, he explained, as many would not believe the amount of trash that does settle on our shores in Singapore. We can all help by making small changes in our daily lives. No matter how small the effort might seem, collectively this can be significant!
29 volunteers celebrated World Water Day Cleanup @ Sungei Pandan on 26 March 2016 – beaming with enthusiasm and with quiet intent that early Saturday morning, they certainly raised our spirits!
They had hopped onto a bus from from Kent Ridge and Dover MRT stations to our gathering point at the Jalan Buroh B25 bus stop. Against the noisy traffic, and with the help of a handy gigaphone, ICCS Coordinator Sivasothi aka Otterman introduced the site and its ecosystem before the ICCS -IKEA Intern Joys Tan (that’s me!) embarked on my first safety briefing!
After many years of cleanups, the trash load at Sungei Pandan is now low and dominated by plastic sheets, cups, bottles, wrappers, straws, styrofoam (eps) and canvas bags. Many were embedded in the grass patch and mangrove floor, which requires a great effort for removal. Our volunteers were not dismayed but worked away, intent on improving the conditions in this rare mangrove spot in the south of Singapore – just look at the bright smiles on their faces!
The ninety minute cleanup was an intense effort! So some of us took break after an hour to catch our breath and rest some weary muscles. Eventually it was time and we transferred and weighed the trash bags and set them aside at the agreed location for the NEA DPC contractors who ensure the trash gets disposed.
We debriefed the team by the roadside and reported a removal of 415.5kg of trash in 43 trash bags from the mangrove after an effort of 90 minutes! We discussed the type of trash we saw, remarked on the need to share the experience to encourage everyone to reduce trash at the source in our daily lives.
Otterman concluded with the biodiversity and heritage value of these precious remnant mangroves at Sungei Pandan and of the positive impact of the cleanups had made over the years. And we thanked the lovely volunteers for making a difference to Singapore!
78 volunteers gathered at the end of Lim Chu Kang Road at 8.00am on a Saturday morning on 27th February 2016.
Led by environment club NTU Earthlink, the 47 students were joined by 11 staff of Singapore Pools and 20 independents (members of public and ICCS). NTU Earthlink’s Nature Guiding Director Wong Zhi Sian carefully went through the operation procedure and safety briefing, and identified the first aider for the day. Gloves and trash bags were handed and volunteers were ready for action!
I have been to Lim Chu Kang mangrove several times of cleanups but am still appalled by the sight of the trash which is recruited there! As the landward side is a nature area with no recreation activity, it is the trash load from the Straits of Johor which is brought in by incoming currents. Bulky items such as chairs, barrels, canoes and fishing nets, often pepper the mangrove, possibly abandoned by the fishermen operating both near shore and offshore.
Trash at the Lim Chu Kang Mangrove.
Most of the team worked the sandy beach which was heavily polluted with macro-trash – especially numerous were straws, plastic bottles and styrofoam pieces. Two fishing nets (about 3m in length) were also removed. With the help of the North-West Zone Captain Adriane Lee, seven other volunteers successfully untangled, removed and transported one of the fishing nets out of the mangrove. This took approximately half an hour, phew!
Look at our happy volunteers!
The curse of plastic straws! Say no to single use disposable straws, please.
Eight volunteers transporting a massive trash.
Volunteers and North-West Zone Captain, Adriane Lee, removing a fishing net.
After an excellent two hours of cleanup (60 minutes for a year-round cleanup is typical), volunteers formed a human chain to move the trash bags to Weighing Point and then to the Trash Disposal Point. After some quick calculations, Zhi Sian cheerfully announced that we removed a total of 982.5kg of trash from the mangrove.
What a great contribution, volunteers!
Transporting trash via a human chain made our work easier.
Weighing trash bags.
Well done, volunteers!
Thank you for an excellent contribution to protecting the environment, NTU Earthlink, Singapore Pools and Independents!
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.
An astounding number of expanded polystyrene (styrofoam) pieces, plastic bottles, plastic pieces, glass bottles, cigarette lighters, slippers and toys were found at the beach.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Singapore celebrates her 50th year of independence in August and once again, volunteers with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) celebrate National Day with a Coastal Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove. This time we are working on first day of the Jubilee Weekend – Friday 7th Aug 2015: 8.00am – 10.30am.
Sign up by 4th August 2015 to join us! Transport will be provided from Kranji MRT to the cleanup site @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove
Why do we conduct coastal cleanups? Habitats along Singapore’s coastlines host an amazing biodiversity and trash present in these areas impact our wildlife adversely and devalue the natural beauty of the landscape. Coastal cleanups conducted by volunteers around the world remove this trash, raise awareness about the impact of marine trash, and motivate us to work towards solutions. including sustainable daily practises. Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove is an unprotected but precious patch of wetland, located in the northwest of Singapore. Incoming trash from the Johor Straits is regularly deposited on the shoreline and impacts the animals, plants and the organisms of the ecosystem there.
Meeting Point: Participants can meet at the bus stop outside Kranji MRT (Bus code: 45139) and will be transported to the cleanup site at Lim Chu Kang road end, or meet us at the venue itself.Itinerary
07.45am – Bus pick up at bus stop outside Kranji MRT (Bus code: 45139) 08.15am – Bus arrives at the Lim Chu Kang Road end. Apply insect repellant, collect gloves and trash bags. Safety and procedure briefing. 08.30am – Cleanup begins 09.45am – End of cleanup; transport trash bags to TCP. 10.00am – Trash is weighed followed by the debrief. 10.15am – Participants clean up. There are no public amenities in this area. Your legs must be clean to enter the bus. 10.30am – Bus departs for Kranji MRT.
Things to note:
Transport to Lim Chu Kang Beach, gloves, trash bags and weighing scales are provided.
You must wear hard-soled covered shoes or booties to to protect your feet from hazards, else you cannot work in the area.
A change of clothes is recommended after a sweaty workout. You must be clea to enter the bus – bring a cloth and extra water to do this.
Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites.
We will continue the cleanup in rain (bring rain gear) but cease if there is threat of lightning.
Things to bring:
Water bottle (with at least one litre of water)
Hat and/ or sun block
Reusable raincoat / poncho (we will work in rain)
Towel to wipe off sand and mud
Change of clothes for public transport.
Sleep early the night before
Have a decent breakfast – it’s hard work!
Be punctual – the bus is unable to wait for latecomers; and the tide waits for no one!
15 June 2015 & 7 July 2015 – We headed down to Sungei Pandan Mangrove (SP1) in preparation for the Youth Day Mangrove Cleanup on 11 July 2015. We had previously organised a cleanup at Sungei Pandan Mangrove for World Water Day on 21 March 2015, where some of our participants reported sightings of the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) in the river!
Despite great news of otters in the habitat, the sight of plastic bottles amongst the vegetation still gets extremely depressing. The patch of mangrove is small and unprotected, and it is rarely cleaned. Trash therefore accumulates, making the ecosystem inhospitable for biodiversity to thrive.
After examining the trash load and determining how much manpower and logistics would be needed on Saturday, we admired the Tree-climbing Crabs (Perisesarma sp.), Rodong Snails (Telescopium telescopium) and Red Berry Snails (Assiminea sp.). Despite it’s located in an industrial area, Pandan Mangrove still has mangrove life!
Our participants on Saturday will not only take away the message of marine trash and the impact it has on the natural environment, but also the value of our local mangrove habitats. Singapore isn’t just a concrete jungle, but our surviving ecosystems deserve recognition! Here’s to a successful Youth Day celebration!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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 .
At first view, Tanah Merah Beach 7 appears pristine. However, within the vegetation of the high strandline lies accumulated trash.
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.
Directions to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT)
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
Gloves, trash bags and weighing scales are provided.
You must wear hard-soled covered shoes or booties to to protect your feet from hazards.
A change of clothes is recommended after a sweaty workout.
Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites, but bermudas are fine.
In the event of bad weather, we will continue the cleanup. The event will stop in the case of lightning threat.
Things to bring:
Water bottle (with at least one litre of water)
Hat and/ or sun block
Reusable raincoat/ poncho
Towel to wipe off sand and mud
Sleep early the night before
Have a decent breakfast – it’s hard work!
Be punctual – we are unable to wait for latecomers; tide waits for no one!
Refer to this recce report of TM7 for more information on the cleanup site.
2 weeks later, 32 of us headed down to Lim Chu Kang Beach again in commemoration of World Biodiversity Day and in 76 trash bags, removed 518kg worth of marine trash.
Despite removing a huge trash load 2 weeks ago, Lim Chu Kang beach was once again littered with plastics and styrofoam when we returned on Saturday evening.
Everyone working hard to free the mudflat of trash.
Although only 2 weeks has passed since our last cleanup, we still collected another 518kg worth of trash comprising of items like plastic bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers and styrofoam pieces. This is only a tiny fraction of the trash that is polluting our oceans and coastal habitats.
Where does this trash come from? The production of plastic has soared since it first started getting produced in the 1950s, and in 2013 we were producing 299 million tonnes of plastic globally. As a lightweight and versatile material, plastic is no doubt an extremely useful invention. However, single use plastic items can end up accumulating in landfills or littering our beaches and mangroves.
Coastal cleanups can only do so much to lighten the burden of trash on our coastal environment. What can we do to address plastic pollution in our daily lives? Start small by rejecting single-use plastics like straws when buying iced drinks. Bring your own tumbler or coffee mug when you takeaway your morning coffee, or use your own lunchbox when you buy takeaway meals. These are easy things we can do to reduce our impact on our environment. Say no to single-use plastics, and spread the word of sustainability to your family and friends!
We ended the cleanup with a debrief where we discussed actions we can take on to reduce our use of disposables.
Thank you to everyone who came down on World Biodiversity Day, it was a great effort in caring for our Lim Chu Kang mudflats!