Apologies in advance for the lack of photos, I lost my waterproof camera at Tanah Merah the day before.
World Oceans Day was on 8 June 2012, and we celebrated it by having another coastal cleanup on Saturday, 9 June! This time, we had two held concurrently, one at Tanah Merah 7 (the usual site for the previous 2 year-round coastal cleanup sessions) and a newly opened site for year-round cleanup, Pasir Ris 6.
The entrance to the beach is just next to Pasir Ris Park BBQ Pit 64. For a very accessible beach, it is really quite badly trashed.
Although it rained quite heavily in the night, there was only a light drizzle when we started cleanup. Apart from the plentiful plastic bags half buried in the sand, there were tyres and many straws and plastic bottles too.
Teo Kah Ming and I spent most of the 1.5 hours by this small stream (well there was water coming out from amongst the vegetation), where the vegetation had trapped A LOT of rubbish. Marcus Tay alerted us to the area, and since both of us were wearing booties, it was easier for us to go in to clear the trash, than the other volunteers who were wearing shoes.
It was a really terrible sight, my heart just sank. There were styrofoam boxes (the kind they use to store fish in the fish market/bubble tea when you’re selling it at a fair), lots of bottles both plastic and glass, and a lot of styrofoam bits that have broken up. The entire waterlogged area was like a soup of trash.
We removed all the big items (styrofoam boxes, bottles), and tried our best to scoop up the little bits (like you would fish for stuff in a steamboat). Together with a student volunteer with SGCares, we managed to clear probably 10 trash bags full of rubbish from the small area of about 4m by 2m.
It made me wonder, where was all this trash coming from? I don’t get it, I don’t get how people can not bother to properly trash their rubbish. Maybe they don’t see the consequences of their actions. Or maybe they don’t care?
And it made me wonder, is there really no way to ensure that we drastically reduce production and usage of single-use disposables? It’s a serious waste of resource and harmful to the environment.
“At the heart of the problem is one of plastic’s most valued properties: its durability. Combined with the throwaway culture that has grown up around plastic products, this means that we are using materials that are designed to last, but for short-term purposes.” – European Commision Science for Environment Policy In-Depth Report on Plastic Waste: Ecological and Human Health Impacts
If we all try to use less disposables (by bringing your own bottle around instead of buying bottled drinks, for example), I’m sure we’ll make the world a better place. It’s not just for “greenies” to do, but for citizens of the world, once we realise that we’re all living on one shared planet that has finite resources and limited ability to stomach all the abuse we’re throwing at it in such a short time.
Nonetheless, it was a great World Ocean Day cleanup, and the 60 volunteers from ACJC, SGCares and the public managed to clear 1100kg of trash in just 90 minutes!
Read more about our World Ocean Day efforts here!