Tuesday, September 15, 2009

International Coastal Cleanup at Chek Jawa (12-Sep)

One of our Crabs, Anuj, led a team of 35 volunteers to clean up a section of Chek Jawa (South) on 12 Sep 2009 (Saturday). These volunteers come from all walks of life and they have independently signed up with ICCS to volunteer their services for the day. Many of them have volunteered for a few years already. Admirable! There must be something special about coastal cleanups that make them come back year after year.

Besides the 'independents', there were many other organisations involved in the cleanup of the entire Chek Jawa stretch, including AVA, LTA, St Nicholas Sec. School, Pei Hwa Sec. School, Advantest and Gemalto.

According to the data collected at Chek Jawa on 12 Sep 2009, there were 325 people involved in the event and they collected 2.786 tonnes of trash. That is about 8.5 kilogram of trash collected by each person!

The International Coastal Cleanup, Singapore, is now in its 18th year of battling marine trash in Singapore. A big part of the cleanup is actually about the collection of data about the trash itself. By collating data, scientists, government agencies, corporations and NGOs gain a better idea of what constitute our trash and what harm the coastal environment, and hopefully formulate better laws and strategies to fight marine pollution.

For example, it is a well-known fact that many marine animals such as sea turtles and whales do mistake floating plastic bags for their favourite food - jellyfish. Plastic bags are known to choke these animals resulting in eventual starvation and death. (Does this make you pause before accepting that plastic bag at the supermarket?)

During the few hours that we spent cleaning Chek Jawa, many of the volunteers were lost in our own thoughts. No doubt we were asking questions like why our beaches are so polluted and what changes do we have to make in our own lives to reduce trash. We cannot solely blame beach-goers for the marine trash. Some of the trash that we picked up were beyond comprehension. Like the used dialysis bag, a medical waste that most likely came from a hospital or clinic. Is it poor waste disposal practices that caused this medical item to show up on a beach?

Now, 'enjoy' the not-so-pretty photos taken of the Big Cleanup exercise.

More piles of trash collected....

Here is the picture of the medical waste that we talked about....

Hundreds of plastic bags are entangled in the roots of the mangroves....

And the volunteers meticulously cutting the plastic bags.

Bags of trash collected by 35 volunteers.

And a picture of Anuj at the end of the Battle of Man Against Marine Trash. The winner gets a clean beach!

A shout-out from the Crabs to JJ and friends who volunteered. JJ is one of our visitors who enjoyed our shore walk at Sentosa.

Another shout-out to KC, a volunteer nature guide at Chek Jawa.

And to Andy and Marcus, ICCS chiefs at the Chek Jawa site.

Read more about International Coastal Cleanup, Singapore:

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