Happy birthday Singapore! From 90 volunteers who celebrated with a mangrove cleanup!

Once again, members of the public joined NUS Toddycats in commemorating National Day by coming together to clear marine trash from our precious mangroves – 90 volunteers cleared half a tonne of trash (573kg) in 103 trash bags from Lim Chu Kang East mangrove this year.

The cleanup was relocated to this tougher site as our usual site at Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove has received enough tender loving care of late that it remains relatively clean – encouraging news indeed!

Before the buses from Kranji MRT with most of the buses arrived, a pre-cleanup check of the site was conducted. We identified two beautiful mangrove pit vipers in LCK East mangrove and marked off the area to ensure they would not disturbed by the cleanup crew.

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The 90 volunteers were sorted into groups of 10 led by team leaders who were pushed through four insertion points into Lim Chu Kang East mangrove, slowly and carefully. Many hands make light work indeed and the small groups working hard amidst the vegetation also ensured we minimised our impact to the site.

We would not clear all of the trash that morning but the ICCS cleanup in September would take care of the rest. Meanwhile, it was good to realise see that the mangrove plant cover had improved considerably in LCK East mangrove.

I was really happy that I had NUS Toddycats with me – eleven of these experienced field biologists led small groups of volunteers deep into our plastic-ridden but precious LCK mangroves. Thanks to Amanda TanXu WeitingKenneth Pinto, Yang Yi YongFung Tze Kwan, Tan Chia WuTan Kai SceneAirani SAdriane LeeTeo Kah Ming & Theresa Su; also Joys Tan for handling pre-cleanup logistics. 

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It was a delight to see Sonneratia alba sprouting on the northern stream bank once again! We worked hard in this polluted stream to remove embedded plastic bags – the stream was still host to many crabs, fish, prawns, mudskippers and even horseshoe crabs, which still mate in the area.

Mangrover Theresa Su, the soothing sight of a capable field biologist amidst the mud!

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Organic pollutants from upstream was trickling down into the stream and raising an awful smell – this stinky organic effluent must be traced back to its source and eliminated. It pollutes the north-western mangroves in many spots, not just Lim Chu Kang East mangrove.

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Wheelbarrows are critically important in shifting half a ton of trash – we borrowed this from NUS CAPT, used the DBS pickup to bring to over to my RVRC office and rented a GoGoVan to transport it here in the morning – well worth all the effort! They will next be used at Tanah Merah during ICCS on 3rd September 2016.

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At the Weighing Station, volunteers weight and total up the weighed trash carefully! The weight does not reflect the number of items removed (e.g. a high amount of plastics is not heavy), but provides some indication at least of the amount of trash removed.

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A chain-gang of volunteers moved the accumulated half tonne of mangrove trash to the Trash Disposal Point, and thanks to the National Environment Agency’s Department of Public Cleanliness, their contractor will come at midday to help us with trash removal. All of such trash in Singapore ends up in an incineration point and its ash ultimately makes its way to the Pulau Semakau landfill the south.

What an amazing sight to behold once we were done, this is what a macro-trash free mangrove in Singapore would look like – may all our mangroves be as well-loved! #limchukang #mangrove #nationalday (Photo by Fung Tze Kwan)

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Always on hand, my first aid kits were thankfully needed just for one scratch today; sharing the comprehensive advise to participants before the cleanup, the pre-cleanup recce, the safety briefing with critical emphasis at the start, site captains and experienced independents amongst the volunteers, the slow and careful movement by everyone, the thick gloves issued to everyone, and the “gloves on always” rule – all of these help keep cleanups incident-free.

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Back at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum at the National University of Singapore, a few of us NUS Toddycats see to the cleaning of the muddy gloves and wheelbarrows. These will be set aside to dry and then are packed away for the next cleanup! #reuse

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Always head into tough terrain with some help – I was really pleased with the 11 @nustoddycats who stepped up to be site captains when summoned that morning – they kept everyone safe in the tough terrain! Here, my former honours students are lined up chronologically – Maria, sister of Theresa Su (Hons 2009), Xu Weiting (Hons 2010), Fung Tze Kwan (Hons 2011) & Amanda Tan (Hons 2012).

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Hearty greetings for Singapore’ 51st National Day in the sun from the wonderful volunteers!

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Organiser’s registration is CLOSED for 25th ICCS 2016: 3,500 volunteers signed up from 80 organisations

The 25th International Coastal Cleanup Singapore is scheduled for the 3rd and 17th September 2016 at sites around the Singapore. 80 organisations have signed up more than 3,500 volunteers for the annual data collection exercise which is conducted around the world, and coordinated by the Ocean Conservancy.

Registration is now CLOSED for Organisers. The volunteer ICCS team spent Apr – Jun conducting site recces, processing applications, finalising site allocations and answering a tsunami-load of queries. In July we ran series of week night workshops to initiate Organisers, set up joint recce visits, get permissions for site access and arrange for trash disposal for the main event, which we are in the midst of doing now.

There is not enough time to process new Organisers now, so they will be redirected to year-round coastal cleanup with Public Hygiene Council. This requires at least three weeks notice.

Registration of individual participants for a coastal cleanup opportunity with NUS Toddycats on 17th September 2016 will be announced after National Day.

Part of the reason for this seasonal operation method is the purely voluntary nature of the team – we need to cope with our regular jobs and the university semester has just begun for some of us and we are swamped and must refocus in August!

Do join us next year in April when registration reopens. And thanks for caring for the environment!

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Map of sites cleanup sites around Singapore
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Pre-National Day mangrove cleanup @ LCK East – registration closes tomorrow

101 people have signed up to celebrate National Day in a meaningful way with the pre-National Day mangrove cleanup at Lim Chu Kang East. Registration closes tomorrow.

 

The happy news is that the mangrove at the original site has a very low load of trash after an earlier year-round coastal cleanup in late June. So we are tackling the adjacent area of Lim Chu Kang East mangrove (view the map). We began working at this site in 2011 (see photos here and the burden of trash there has been reduced considerably.

Still, the 100 of us will have our work cut out for us.

There will ICCS cleanups a month after this, at both LCK and LCKE mangroves. These sites are experiencing their best relief from macro-trash in recent decades, which has been carefully achieved at several sites now, to manage impact even as we remove marine trash. What a grand and gradual effort by volunteers over 20 years!

For this cleanup, we’ve conducted our recce, booked two 45-seater buses to fetch volunteers from Kranji MRT, prepared the stores, updated participants, sought permission from SPF via SLA, and informed NEA DPC to help with trash removal – they all replied very quickly, by the way. And we look forward to the company of people who are making an effort to celebrate National Day in a meaningful way!

Server down; alternative links to Site Status and Registration pages for Organisers

11.24 am – site is back up!

The ICCS server (http://coastalcleanup.nus.edu.sg ) appears to be down this morning so here are alternative links for Organisers who want to check the Site Status (to check availability or confirm their site) and who want to register for ICCS in September:

Registration page:

Site Status – to check for availability:

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Celebrate National Day with a Coastal Cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove (Sat 06 Aug 2016)

Update – the Pre-National Day mangrove cleanup is relocated to LCK East mangrove.

Every year, volunteers with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) celebrate National Day with a coastal cleanup @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove. This year we will be working on Saturday 6th Aug 2016: 8.00am – 10.30am.

To join us, Sign up here by 1st August 2016!
Transport will be provided from Kranji MRT to the cleanup site @ Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove

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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.

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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 Trash Collection Points 1–3.
  • 10.00am – Trash is weighed and moved to the Trah Disposal Point; debrief.
  • 10.15am – Participants clean up; there are no public amenities in this area an your legs must be clean to enter the bus. So bring some water.
  • 10.30am – Bus departs for Kranji MRT.

Things to note:

  1. Transport to Lim Chu Kang Beach, 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, else you will not be allowed to work in the area.
  3. A change of clothes is recommended after a sweaty workout.
  4. You must be clean to enter the bus – bring a cloth and extra water to do this.
  5. Long pants are recommended to protect your legs from insect bites.
  6. We will continue the cleanup 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 and/ or sun block
  3. Reusable raincoat / poncho (we will work in light rain)
  4. Towel to wipe off sand and mud
  5. Change of clothes for public transport.

Be prepared:

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a decent breakfast – it’s hard work!
  3. Be punctual – the bus is unable to wait for latecomers; and the tide waits for no one!
  4. Refer to this recce report of Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove.
  5. Please read our advice to participants to prepare yourself for the cleanup!

Thank you for caring for our planet!

ICCS Workshops 2016: 13-15 Jul 2016: 7.00pm – 9.30pm

The invitation to the 2016 International Coastal Cleanup Singapore Workshop for Organisers has been emailed to the 78 organisers who registered for the cleanup in September. The venue is the Department of Biological Sciences at National University of Singapore.

This workshops are organised to update and equip Organisers with information and strategies for running a safe, effective, educational and green event.

We will conduct this on weekday nights next week (13-15 Jul 2016) in a small-group environment to enhance learning, facilitate the asking of questions and sharing of experiences.

If you wish to attend the workshop, write to us at iccs@coastalcleanupsingapore.org

Update (13 Jul 2016)

Wed 13 Jul 2016: Instructors

  1. Airani S (I/C)
  2. Tan Chia Wu
  3. Yang Yi Yong
  4. Ng Kai Scene
  5. Johannah Wai

Wed 13 Jul 2016: 20 Participants

  1. Ministry Of Adventure (2)
  2. Sukyo Mahikari Singapore (3)
  3. Pacific Refreshments Pte Ltd (3)
  4. PacificLight Power Pte Ltd (2)
  5. Republic Polytechnic Conservation Interest Group (1)
  6. RGBLife (2)
  7. Little Green Men (2)
  8. Ricoh Singapore Pte Ltd (3)
  9. JTC Corporation (1)
  10. Colugo Cub Scouts (1)

Thu 14 Jul 2016: Instructors

  1. Lim Cheng Puay (I/C)
  2. Yang Yi Yong
  3. Joys Tan
  4. Johannah Wai

Thu 14 Jul 2016: 23 Participants

  1. Jurong Secondary School (2)
  2. Thomson Reuters (1)
  3. Renesas Electronics Singapore Pte Ltd (3)
  4. Fuji SMBE Pte Ltd (1)
  5. Siemens Pte ltd (3)
  6. NorthLight School (2)
  7. Thomson Reuters (3)
  8. Celanese Singapore (1)
  9. Paia Consulting (1)
  10. IRAS (3)
  11. Earthlink NTU (2)
  12. Setsco Services Pte Ltd (1)

Fri 15 Jul 2016: Instructors

  1. Teo Kah Ming (I/C)
  2. Joleen Chan
  3. Adriane Lee
  4. Joys Tan

Fri 15 Jul 2016: 18 Participants

  1. Tata Consultancy Services Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. (3)
  2. Alpha Phi Omega (1)
  3. Purac Asia Pacific (2)
  4. BTI (2)
  5. Mun Siong Engineering Limited (2)
  6. NUS High (2)
  7. Independent (1)
  8. Singapore Customs (1)
  9. Tian Hua Fu Tang (2)
  10. Better Trails LLP (2)

World Environment Day 2016 Saving Gaia Beach Cleanup and video

Mediacorp Saving Gaia organised in a beach cleanup on 4th June 2016 at Pasir Ris 6. Their staff volunteers collected and removed a total of 354.5kg of trash from the beach in conjunction with World Environment Day, we organized a beach cleanup at Pasir Ris Beach.

This is the second coastal cleanup they have conducted at Pasir Ris 6 this year and as a result, that beach ecosystem and marine life are getting significant relief from the burden of marine trash. Their third cleanup at Pasir Ris 6 will be part of ICCS in September. This is an excellent example of regular and continuous stewardship which we have seen exemplified too by Bukit Batok Secondary School.

To encourage more people to play their part in protecting the environment, Mediacorp Saving Gaia produced yet another excellent short video which all Organisers can share with their volunteers:

There is a Mandarin version too – available here!