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

On 26th of February 2015, 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

rvrc 2 rvrc 3 rvrc 4 rvrc 5 rvrc 6 rvrc 7

IMG_2252 IMG_2255

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

  IMG_2275

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

rvrc 8

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.

 IMG_2177 IMG_2185 IMG_2197

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.

IMG_2227  IMG_2244

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.

 IMG_2287

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

IMG_2292  IMG_2299

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

rvrc 9 rvrc 10

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.

rvrc 12

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!

Celebrate World Water Day with a coastal cleanup at Pandan Mangrove, Sat 21 Mar 2015: 4.00pm!

In conjunction with World Water Day, volunteers with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) will be conducting a cleanup at Sungei Pandan mangrove on Sat 21 March 2015: 4.00pm – 6.00pm.

Registration for the World Water Day mangrove cleanup has closed! 

Thank you to everyone who has signed up!

WWD poster6

What is World Water Day? World Water Day is a day designated by the United Nations to highlight the importance of water and to advocate sustainable management of water resources. Why cleanup? Humanity needs water and wetland habitats are an integral part of the water cycle on this planet. Wetlands habitats are especially precious in Singapore and trash causes adverse impacts to wildlife, releases harmful chemicals and are an unsightly presence we should not tolerate! Coastal cleanups are conducted by volunteers around the world to remove this trash, raise awareness of the plight of our oceans and waterways and motivate us to rethink our habits in daily urban living towards sustainable practises.

IMG_2087   IMG_2135IMG_2070   IMG_2063

Sungei Pandan Mangrove: Sungei Pandan is a small but precious mangrove located in south-western Singapore at the mouth of the Sungei Pandan, and draining into the sea at West Coast. In order to protect this site, the annual ICCS was brought to Sungei Pandan mangrove in 2008 and the bulk of trash has been removed. However, there is still an annual recruitment of marine trash so year-round coastal cleanups like this World Water Day hope to address.

SP2 on Sg's mainland

Map of Sungei Pandan Mangrove in relation to Singapore. The site we will work on is Sungei Pandan 2 (SP2)

Screen shot 2015-03-16 at AM 10.37.12 IMG_2091

Volunteers will be picked up from Kent Ridge & Dover MRT bus stops and transported to this Jalan Buroh B25 bus stop which will be our briefing and trash disposal site.

Itinerary

15:30 – Bus pick up at (1) Dover MRT – on the side of Singapore Poly) and (2) Kent Ridge MRT – Opposite NUH) 16:00 – Arrive at Jalan Buroh B25 bus stop and unload all logistics from the buses. Organize everyone into groups of 4, apply insect repellant, collect gloves, trash bags, ICCS data cards, and other required logistics. 16:15 – Briefing and identification of Trash Collection Point (TCP). Brief of wet weather plans (which is to carry on unless there is a lighting threat) 16:30 – Cleanup begins 17:30 – Transportation of trash to TCP (next to Jalan Buroh B25) 18:00 – End of clean-up. Trash is weighed and discussion/ reflection time. 18:30 – Participants clean up. No toilets or other amenities nearby so participants must bring a small amount of water to wipe themselves down. 18:45 – Bus transports participants back from Jalan Buroh B25 to Dover and Kent Ridge MRT.

Map detailing the meeting points at Dover and Kent Ridge MRT:

Map detailing meeting points for World Water Day

Things to note

  1. Transport to Pandan Mangroves, gloves, trash bags and weighing scales will be provided.
  2. For those intending to drive, do note that there are not public parking facilities nearby.
  3. You must wear hard-soled covered shoes or booties to to protect your feet from hazards.
  4. A change of t-shirt is recommended after a sweaty workout.
  5. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites and mud, but bermudas are fine.
  6. Water-proof your belongings.

Things to bring:

  1. Water bottle (with at least one litre of water)
  2. Hat and/ or sun block
  3. Raincoat/ poncho (we will work in rain)
  4. Towel – wipe off sand and mud
  5. Extra water to wipe yourself down

Be prepared:

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a decent lunch – 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 SP2 for more information on the cleanup site.

Thank you for caring for our planet this World Water Day!

Sign up here by the 11th of March 2015 if you want to join us!

Singapore World Water Day

Recce at Tanah Merah 7 reveals a heavy trash load on the high shoreline

24 Feb 2015 – A recce was conducted in preparation for the Chinese New Year Coastal Cleanup by Ridge View Residential College (RVRC) students taking GEM1917 – Understanding And Critiquing Sustainability.

As we left Tanah Merry Ferry Terminal and entered State Land, the beach appeared rather clean. Had NEA cleaners been hard at work here after the September cleanup for ICCS?

IMG_1807

A seemingly clean beach with tiny balls of sand created by the Sand Bubbler Crab

The trash revealed itself to us slowly, as we walked further away from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.

IMG_1806  IMG_1808IMG_1811  IMG_1820IMG_1822  IMG_1836IMG_1845IMG_1915  IMG_1924 IMG_1925  IMG_1972IMG_1848  IMG_1849   IMG_1851   IMG_1859

And at the high shoreline, the accumulated trash among the vegetation:

 2015-02-24 09.38.45  2015-02-24 09.38.28

2015-02-24 09.39.06

Barnacles growing on the surface of a discarded container: IMG_2008

There was still signs of life at the beach! We saw many holes in the ground (homes of crabs), acorn worm poop, moths and herons.

IMG_1793  IMG_1794  IMG_1798  IMG_1955IMG_2002  IMG_2020

 Not all hope is lost!

IMG_1863  IMG_1866

It’s TIME to STEP up in preserving our marine life!

All the photos on Flickr.

SUTD Greenprint tackles Sungei Pandan Mangrove for YRCC [17 Jan 2015]

On 17 Jan 2015, SUTD Greenprint welcomed the start of the new year by conducting the 1st coastal cleanup activity under Year-Round Coastal Cleanup (YRCC), as part of the student’s month-long independent activity period. Nine undergraduate students, armed with gloves, trash bags and a passion to make a visible difference to the trash load at Sungei Pandan Mangrove gathered along Jalan Buroh.

The students expressed awe at the amount of common everyday objects which had collected in the mangroves since the last mangrove cleanup in Sept 2014. The trash load is much lighter now, after continuous effort by ICCS volunteers over many years.

Braving the heat, mud and an unexpected swarm of ants in a discarded scaffolding pole, the enthusiastic and energetic students relieved the mangrove of more than 28 kg of marine trash.

Well done!

Year-Round Coastal Cleanups (YRCC) in 2015 begin!

The annual data-collecting International Coastal Cleanup is conducted in September every year in Singapore and in countries around the world. However, our shores require relief from the burden of marine trash which is deposited all-year round. In response to this are volunteers from schools and corporate groups who conduct Year-Round Coastal Cleanups (YRCC).

Conducting a coastal cleanup at a recreational beach is an eye-opener indeed at any time of the year. You an arrange to do this through NEA’s Seashore Life program or by arrangement with NParks. Do begin your work early – our shoreline cleaners get started at sunrise and will not rely on late-comers to the shore!

Last year, we highlighted these five YRCC efforts amongst the many that took place and we salute them all! Some of these cleanups were assisted by NParks and NEA’s Department of Public Cleanliness, who helped with trash disposal. These agencies are involved in the ICCS annually as well and we thank them both.

  • 15 Feb 2014 – Nature volunteers @ Pulau Semakau [link]
  • 01 Jun 2014 – Earthlink NTU’s Ecoventure @ Tanah Merah 5 [link]
  • 11 Jul 2014 – Nexia TS @ Changi Beach! [link]
  • 09 Aug 2014 – National Day Mangrove Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang [link]
  • 22 Dec 2014 – Cubic Singapore @ West Coast Beach [link]
20150210 CubicSingapore

There are four types of beaches (Categories A to D) which a group can tackle – see “Suggestions for Year Round Coastal Cleanups.” YRCCs are especially helpful when conducted on our non-recreational beaches and mangroves which, unlike our recreational beaches, are not cleared of trash on a daily basis. These sites are still host to marine life and every effort helps protect them from the impact of trash.

In preparation for such cleanups, Organisers read the ICCS Guidelines for Organisers and liase with an ICCS Zone Captain, who will go on a joint recce with them, to ensure a safe cleanup is arranged.

YRCCs do not require the use of the Data Cards but to record the number of black trash bags and overall weight of the collection, as this helps us gauge the variation of trash load at a site. Some groups prefer to use the Data Card as it informs and educates volunteers. The trash profile and load variation data provides for a greater understanding of the underlying challenge.

This year, SUTD Green Club claimed the honours for the first YRCC with ICCS.
20150117 SUTD PandanMangrove YRCC

Others are planning YRCCs later on in the year, including the ICCS Otters:

  1. Sat 17 Jan 2015: 8am – SUTD Green Club @ Pandan Mangrove
  2. Fri 30 Jan 2015: ?9am – Olympus Technologies Singapore Pte. Ltd’s Environmental Program (37 volunteers)
  3. Thu 26 Feb 2015: 8am – NUS Ridge View Residential College (GEM1917) @ Tanah Merah 7 (35 students)
  4. Sat 14 Mar 2015: 9am – Bukit Batok Sec School @ Pasir Ris 6 (50 students)
  5. Sat 21 Mar 2015: 4.00pm – 6.00pm – World Water Day Coastal Cleanup @ Pandan Mangrove (ICC Otters; open to public)
  6. Sat 18 Apr 2015: 8.00am – 12.00pm – Earth Day Coastal Cleanup @ Pasir Ris 6 (ICC Otters; open to public)
  7. Sat 23 May 2015: 9am – Bukit Batok Sec School @ Pasir Ris 6 (50 students)
  8. Sat 06 Jun 2015: 8.00am – 12.00pm – World Environment Day Coastal Cleanup @ Tanah Merah 7 (ICC Otters; open to public)
  9. Sat 08 Aug 2015 – National Day Coastal Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang (ICC Otters; open to public)

There will be more than these, we hope!

The public cleanups organised by ICCS Otters will be publicised on this blog and through the ICCS mailing list. Do sign up with the mailing list to be kept informed – at the top of the webpage at http://coastalcleanup.nus.edu.sg.

Tally-ho!

20140913 TM7

Photos from Cubic Singapore, SUTD Greeen Club and Kenneth Pinto, ICCS.

2015’s first coast cleanup recce – Pasir Ris 6 @ North East Zone [07 Feb 2015]

This past Saturday morning (07 Feb 2015) marked the first recce of the year for the North East Zone. Organisers from Bukit Batok Secondary School comprising of teachers Syam Lal Sadanandan and Surjeet Singh with student Azri, met with Zone Captain Yi Yong at Pasir Ris Beach 6 in preparation for their cleanup in March.

Organisers from Bukit Batok Secondary School got in touch with ICCS coordinators late last year with the intention to carry out a cleanup in March. This was a good opportunity to address the high trash load at Pasir Ris Beach 6 which, despite the concerted effort of various groups at the International Coastal Cleanup in Sep 2014, still presented a significant challenge of marine trash.

Where the now dried-up and silted-over stream used to be, near the bottom of the picture

Near the bottom of the picture: the now dried-up and silted-over stream

After four and half months, the small stream at the entrance of the site had disappeared! This could be due to the low rain fall of the past month. Well, organisers need no longer worry about accessing and exiting the site at higher tide levels so there will be greater flexibility with the cleanup schedule.

An area of high trash concentration along the strandline and in the vegetation

A high trash load along the strand line and in the vegetation

Another area of high trash concentration along the beach

Another area of high trash concentration along the beach

Typically, the trash load at Pasir Ris 6 was as high as ever, with the largest trash accumulated along the strandline and in the vegetation. This will prove challenging as the students will face restrictions in their movements and risk of insect bites, so they will have to be careful here. The trash was comprised of the usual suspects – plastic bags, wrappers and bottles, with a few barrels in the mix. A big plastic tub had the organisers’ eyes twinkling as they conspired of ways of utilising it in their school’s beautification project!

Teachers Syam and Surjeet excited with the prospect of turning trash into treasure

Teachers Syam and Surjeet excited with the prospect of turning trash into treasure

The cleanup, scheduled for the 14 Mar 2015, will be an interesting and educational experience for the students of Bukit Batok Secondary School. They have their work cut out for them, so let’s wish them all the best as they do their part in tackling the scourge of marine trash!

And help marine creatures like this horseshoe crab!

Help marine creatures like this horseshoe crab!

By Yang Yi Yong
Zone Captain,
North East Zone,
International Coastal Cleanup Singapore

“Pick as Much as Possible” Cubic Singapore’s Year Round Coastal Cleanup @ West Coast Beach, 22 Dec 2014

Connie Teo, HR Manager of Cubic Singapore writes,

More than 25 staff from Cubic Singapore volunteered in its first coastal clean-up on 22 December 2014 at the West Coast Beach. The initiative was spearheaded by Cubic’s first Social Committee members, headed by its Chair Marvin Su.

With the help of NEA who supplied us with the picking appliances and disposal bags, our colleagues went about and around enthusiastically with one mission in mind “Pick as Much as Possible”! A safety briefing was also conducted by Paul Zhang, planner from the Social Committee.

“We chose the low tide period in the evening so that we can help remove as much trash as possible and help keep our shorelines clean and pleasant for everyone and the fisherman who berth their boats there”; said Cubic’s HR Manager Connie Teo. As a Company, Cubic is committed in its corporate social responsibility towards the environment and the community.

We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to Ze Bin from NPARKS for his guidance and assistance.

20141222 Cubic Singapore