Today, the world celebrates International Coastal Cleanup!
In every participating country, on the 3rd Saturday of September, motivated groups swoop down upon the coastal areas (beaches, mangroves, and some even dive) to clear up the marine trash that litter our coastline. On top of clearing the trash, data on the trash (what kinds, how much etc) is collected and submitted to Ocean Conservancy who coordinates the effort.
This year in Singapore though, coastal cleanup efforts were spread out over 4 weeks (8, 15, 22 and 29 September) due to the tides. I joined NUS Environmental Engineering and Singapore American School students at Lim Chu Kang East mangroves last Saturday (8 Sept) and it was horrendously trashy!
I went Lim Chu Kang East mangrove last year for ICCS as well, and this seems possibly worse! There are lots of fallen logs and wooden planks, such that it is entirely possible to walk through the area without getting muddy at all.
The 220 of us cleared 662 bags of trash weighing 2910kg from the mangroves in 90 minutes! The area was looking much better after we left and I’m sure the mangrove trees agree with me(:
All over Singapore, over 4000 individuals from schools, corporations, goverment agencies and coming on their own onus have signed up to take part in this exercise, and really every effort counts. You can keep up to date about our efforts on our blog here.
Seeing all the food wrappers, styrofoam boxes, plastic bottles and straws being strewn over an area that should have been free of any human impact, I always get frustrated – why can’t people dispose of their trash responsibly? And probably, if everyone tries picking up trash, no matter where or for how long, they will get the same sense of frustration. And hopefully, the trash load will reduce over time.
And that’s just the trash that we can see, visibly, on our shores. There’s loads more out there in our ocean gyres, just collecting.
I could go on and on talking about terrible plastic and its impact and how marine life suffers and how it will eventually come back and haunt us to our graves, but I think it just boils down to personal value and opinion. Whether you care for this Earth that we’re all living on and depend on, and whether you care enough to want to do something about it.
Every effort counts, and it starts right now.
[Update 16 Sep 2012] Forgot to add this in!
If you’re an individual keen to contribute your effort, you can! Check out the sites where you can help out on 29 Sep 2012 here (:
If you’re interested in getting your company/organisation to do some coastal cleanup, unfortunately registration for organisations have closed. You can always join us next year though, and subscribe to our mailing list on our website here! Otherwise, you can always organise your own (: