Celebrate World Water Day with a mangrove cleanup @ Sungei Pandan, Sat 26 March 2016: 7.30am

In celebration of World Water Day, volunteers with the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) will be conducting a cleanup at Sungei Pandan mangrove on Sat 26 March 2016: 7.30am–10.30am.

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World Water Day Cleanup 26Mar2016

 

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. It is celebrated on 22 March annually.

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.

In Singapore: Water conservation efforts by PUB have seen Singapore’s per capita domestic water consumption dropped from 165 litres per day in 2003 to 150 litres. The agency is targeting a goal of 147 litres by 2020 and 140 litres by 2030.

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 extended to Sungei Pandan mangrove in 2008 and the bulk of the historical trash load has been removed. However, it is still burdened by an annual recruitment of marine trash and year-round coastal cleanups like the World Water Day cleanup help to make the ecosystem a more hospitable one for marine life – including the very special smooth-coated otter!

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Itinerary

  • 07:00 – Bus pick up at (1) Kent Ridge MRT [Bus stop ID: 18071, NUH] and (2) Dover MRT [Bus stop ID: 19031, Dover Stn]
  • 07:30 – Arrive at Jalan Buroh B25 bus stop and unload all logistics from the buses. Participants collect logistics – a pair of gloves and trash bags.
  • 07:45 – Safety Briefing for participants and the wet weather plans (carry on unless lighting threat). Identify the Trash Disposal Point (TDP; forward margin of Jalan Buroh B25 bus stop).
  • 08:00 – Cleanup begins.
  • 08:45 – Check on hydration levels; is everyone feeling okay?
  • 09:30 – Cleanup ends. Transport bags to the TDP.
  • 09:45 – Debrief including summary of trash collected.
  • 10:00 – Participants to clean up with water they bring to wipe themselves down.
  • 10:10 – Bus transports participants back to Dover and Kent Ridge MRTs.
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Meeting Points at Dover and Kent Ridge Stations for shuttle bus pick-up and drop-off.

Location of Jalan buroh B25 Bus stop


Location of Jalan Buroh B25 bus stop, indicated by the red triangle.

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

Preparing for the cleanup

  1. Sleep early the night before
  2. Have a good breakfast – 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.

Find out more about Singapore World Water Day 2016 here.
Thank you for caring for our planet this World Water Day!

The trash on the Pulau Serangoon (Coney Island) shore – revisited after nearly five years!

Pulau Serangoon or Coney Island as it is better known by these days, is located off the northeastern coast of Singapore and is host to several beaches and a mangrove. Like any shoreline in Singapore, it suffers from a marine trash load.

After it was connected to the mainland by reclamation, Sivasothi aka Otterman examined the area as a potential cleanup site in June 2011.  He was unable to open the site then due to safety issues and has been wondering when ICCS could begin operations there.

Now, things are finally happening! The island has been developed as a park and managed by NParks. there are safe access routes to the beaches and trash on the inter-tidal shore is cleared by NEA on a daily basis.

However, NParks which manages the high shore reports an ever present trash load. And they urged us to get things started! So on 18 Feb 2016, I visited Coney Island for a site recce with NParks’ park manager Alex Tam.

Coney Island can now be accessed via the Coney Island West Entrance by taking bus 84 from Punggol MRT. It took me just a five minutes walk from the bus stop to the West Gate.

Coney Island Location

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This was my first visit to Coney Island and I was warmly welcomed by the calls of orioles and magpie robins. What a beautiful place! Yet, the five beaches (A to E) and mangrove on the island revealed a different sight.

Beach E (400m) – The beach is easy to locate and access, and the entry point is suitable for an assembly area and trash disposal point. Although Coney Island beaches are regularly cleared by NEA contractors, a medium load of trash accumulates on the strand line and in the inland vegetation. The trash load is characterised by styrofoam pieces, plastics and some bulky items. Volunteers will have to avoid picking up twigs and wooden pieces as they clear trash.

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Beach D (300m) – The trash load is medium to high, with more bulky items observed, such as fishing nets, tyre and barrels.

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The inland vegetation is peppered with plastic bottles and some glass bottles. Volunteers will have to be careful with glass pieces even if wearing gloves. Despite a cleanup by 50 students a fortnight ago (photo on the left below), a horrendous amount of trash remains!

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Beach C (100m)– This is a very a short stretch of beach, and the end is clearly demarcated by the stream, which is cleaned twice a week.

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Beach A to B – This is something that Beach A and B might look like. More details after the next recce trip!

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Mangrove – This is a small patch of about three to five footballs fields and can be entered via a boardwalk. The trash load appears low, but more after a second recce.

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When conducting a much needed coastal cleanup at Coney Island, organisers will have to be advised about the presence of only a single toilet at the eastern end of the island. And it is advisable for volunteers to wear long-sleeved thin shirts and pants as precautions against sandflies. I didn’t get bitten, but many have been after the park was opened.

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Toilet on Coney Island. Source: littledayout

It was good to be able to review the site, and we hope to invite Organsiers to tackle the burden of marine trash at this site soon!

Top 10 marine trash items collected globally (2015 Ocean Conservancy Report)

In 2014, International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) saw more than 560,000 volunteers remove more than 7,000 tonnes of trash along 20,000km of beaches and inland waterways in 91 countries. The global top ten items collected were single-use plastic items. See the report here.

 www oceanconservancy org our work marine debris 2015 data release 2015 data release pdf pdf

What Is Marine Debris? A cartoon crash course (94 sec video)

Another educational quick video by Jim Toomey and partners:

“Marine debris is all the manmade stuff that ends up in the oceans—from soda cans and plastic bottles to sunken ships. There’s marine debris in every ocean on Earth, and all that junk can kill and injure sea life, impede navigation, leach chemicals, and even end up in our food.

Nationally syndicated cartoonist Jim Toomey, creator of Sherman’s Lagoon, has joined forces with The Pew Charitable Trusts to illustrate “marine debris” and other terms associated with our oceans.”

Call for volunteers to coordinate coastal cleanups in Singapore for 2016 [deadline: 12 Feb 2016]

The volunteer coordinators of the International Coastal Cleanup in Singapore are searching for motivated individuals who would like to contribute to the betterment of the marine environment.

Volunteers will conduct evaluations of beaches and mangroves prior to cleanups, learn about marine life, liase with Organisers, help plan workshops, process data, conduct outreach activities as well as leading by example during beach and mangrove cleanups!

We are looking for Zone Captains and Site Captains who are able to commit to our 2016 Calendar of events. Check the full calendar of dates. If you fit the bill and can make the dates, sign up to join the ICCS Otters and we will be in touch! The first briefing session for new applicants will be on Fri 05 Feb 2016 in NUS at 7.00pm. There will be second briefing date in mid-February.

We are a dedicated team who have been coordinating the International Coastal Cleanup in Singapore for more than a decade. We work with Organisers from more than 60 organisations and institutions who lead some 4,000 volunteers to the beach and mangroves of Singapore in September, and with Organisers of Year-Round Coastal Cleanups.

We keep meetings and emails to a minimum in order to sustain this effort alongside our regular jobs long-term. So to work with us, you need to be responsive and dedicated. If unfamiliar, you will be introduced to our use of digital tools and field-preparation.

If you think this sounds like something you could do, we would be most happy to welcome you!

Do sign up here by 12 Feb 2016!

See you on the beach!

Cheerio!
Sivasothi

N. Sivasothi
Coordinator,
International Coastal Cleanup Singapore
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
& Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore

What do ICCS Zone Captains do?

Shoreline recces
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Workshop Tutorials
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Just the few meetings!
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ICCS Lecture dialogues
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School Talks
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Briefing volunteers
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Coastal cleanup!
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Getting stuck!
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Every piece counts
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Weighing trash
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Feeling accomplished!
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Washing gloves!
174_iccs-KranjiEast-21sep2013[AdrianeLee]

Data processing
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Fellowship through year-round action
42_PreNatiDay_MangroveCleanup-04 aug2012[andydinesh]

The first year-round coastal cleanup of 2016 @ Sungei Pandan Mangrove, by NUS BES students [08 Jan 2016]

IMG_6265.jpgThe first mangrove cleanup conducted this year was conducted at the Sungei Pandan Mangrove (site SP2) on 08 Jan 2016 by the Bachelor of Environmental Studies (BES) Community Education/Engagement Branch (CEB) with the support of ICCS.

The BES team consisting of 23 undergraduates collected a total of 213.4kg of trash, with the most common items being plastic bags and wrappers (~300 pieces), plastic bottles (~150 pieces) and expanded polystyrene (styrofoam) pieces (~100 pieces).

Styrofoam pieces ranged from smaller pieces (1cm x 1cm) to take-out food containers and even larger packaging pieces (1m x 50cm). Drinking straws and “lollipop sticks” were also abundant.

Unexpected items were helmets, buckets and even a fishing trap. On the bright side, no lost or discarded fishing gear (fishing rope, line or net) was present, other than the single fishing trap.

The cleanup was a success with larger pieces of trash removed from the mangroves. However, due to manpower and time constraints, we could not remove all the visible trash from the site, and could see that a number of plastic bottles, bags and wrappers remained. Some of these were trapped in between the roots and branches, reducing their accessibility.

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Mangroves are an important ecosystem we want to protect and conserve, for the ecosystem services they provide and for the wildlife that call it home. We hope to return to continue the battle against marine trash at this precious site in our neighbourhood!

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On behalf of the BES CEB team, we would like to thank ICCS Singapore (Coordinator Sivasothi and South Zone Captain Mr Lim Cheng Puay) for their advice, time and expertise during the planning phase as well as logistical support during the actual event.

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By: Ang Hui Hao, NUS BES

Congratulations to the NUS BES students! Thank you for contributing to the marine environment. 

SAJS kick off their “Values in Action” program with a coastal cleanup at Pandan Mangrove! (26 Nov 2015)

Staff of St. Andrew’s Junior School kicked off their “Values in Action” program with a sharing session by N. Sivasothi aka Otterman at the school and then travelled to the west for a coastal cleanup at Pandan Mangrove on 26 Nov 2015:

  • 1300h – Lunch @ School Canteen @ Potong Pasir
  • 1400h – Introduction and Video Session @ Thinkubator
  • 1445h – Depart for Ulu Pandan from the Carpark
  • 1530h – Start of Pandan Mangrove Cleanup
  • 1700h – Coastal cleanup ends and staff wash up
  • 1715h –  All depart for Staff D & D @ Civil Service Club Tessensohn

the very efficient Vice Principal Thomas Tan messaged me after the cleanup to say it was a wonderful, engaging experience, with the staff talking about it for days after the event. He hopes to keep the flame burning with positive action thereafter, in daily life!

See all the photos on Flickr.

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