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The Eco Action Day Coastal Cleanup @ Tanah Merah Beach 7

6 July 2015

Despite starting early at 9am, the weather was already hot and humid and the 23 volunteers from Setsco pressed on and toiled under the hot sun as they did their bit to conserve the environment. A total of 52 volunteers participated in the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) on Saturday, 6th June 2015. An annual event conducted in about 100 countries around the world, the programme aims to reduce non-biodegradable debris in waterways and enhance aquatic environments. This meaningful programme is coordinated by The Ocean Conservancy, a US-based non-profit organization.

The sense of commitment from Setsco’s volunteers were evident as they combed the beach after being comprehensively briefed by the ICCS Deputy Coordinator, Kai Scene on specific items that can be picked and some basic safety and precautionary measures. The volunteers were divided into groups of 3 or 4 before they proceeded to the coastal area where the actual clean up was. As we “cleaned” the beach, participants got a rare chance of observing the biodiversity, marine life and beautiful coral reefs at Tanah Merah beach aided by the low morning tide of 0.2m.

Interesting items that were found included instant noodle packages, plastic water bottles, plastic bags and surprisingly; straws! It was recorded that we picked up a whopping 5kg of straws on that day! Not only that. We were told that the total garbage removed on that day was a commendable 632kg and 89 trash bags, which according to the organizer, was one of the largest haul of trash ever collected given the size of volunteers on that day. At that instant, we felt instantly gratified, amply rewarded and fully satisfied that we have spent that Saturday productively.

Most participants felt that such environmental-related activity was important and should be organized regularly albeit for different purposes. It reinforced bonds among family members who also participated and contributed to the common cause. A truly commendable effort by the CSR committee!

Above is Fanny Chew (Left) from Human Resource Department, one of the participants at the half-day event.

“Stop littering!” – This was the first statement I wanted to shout out after cleaning the Tanah Merah Beach coastal area with some fellow volunteers. It was my first time volunteering for ICCS and I was pretty much looking forward to it. I may not be a big fan of picking up trash, but I was excited to learn more about the dire effects our daily rubbish can have on the environment, and in particular, our oceans. Initially, I didn’t expect much rubbish from a small coastal area but I was wrong. We saw lots of plastic bags, plastic wraps, straws and strings. They were buried in the sand, and we had to dig deep to pull them out. As we started removing hundreds of plastic bags I began to understand the importance of using biodegradable items and would reduce my usage of plastic bags in the future.