Coastal cleanup at Lim Chu Kang, Singapore

Lim Chu Kang is an unprotected wetland area in the northwest of Singapore. It is home to a vast array of biodiversity, just like most of Singapore’s coastline. Unfortunately, trash and waste from the Johor Straits deposit in the mangroves here and negatively impacts the ecosystem. It was an amazing learning experience to take part in a Pre-National Day coastal cleanup at Lim Chu Kang, organised by the ICCS (International Coastal Cleanup Singapore).

Firstly we were provided with gloves and a garbage bag to collect the trash. We were instructed to fill the trash bag only halfway. Then, we were split into teams and briefed by our guides from NUS Toddycats led by Sivasothi N. for the safety guidelines.

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Collecting the garbage bags and gloves

They told us they had seen two Mangrove Pit Vipers (Cryptelytrops purpureomaculatus)in a particular spot so we were not allowed there. (For a moment I wished I had brought my camera, then I reminded myself what I was truly here for!  I have borrowed pictures for this blogpost – please see footnote for credits).

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Mangrove Pit Viper

I was astounded by the amount and type of trash inside the mangroves.There were mainly styrofoam and plastic pieces, but other trash included plastic bottles, helmets, crates, chairs, cigarettes and slippers entangled or stuck on roots and leaves of the trees or under the mud. Despite sweating during the cleanup due to my full-sleeved attire and muddy boots I felt so motivated to pick up as much as I could in the little time we had.

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One team even retrieved a television from the mangrove island and moved it across the water. The team said it was a great team building experience as they used a piece of wood to roll it to the other side.

 

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After the exhausting yet fruitful cleanup session, we tied up the bags and carted them back to where we had the briefing session, so that they could be weighed. After that, we created a human ‘chain’ to pass them on to make a huge pile. Together, the entire team of about 90 people collected about half a tonne of trash! My friends and I couldn’t have felt more proud and happy.

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The wheelbarrows we used to transport the trash bags which are in a pile on the left  – Picture Credit : Cuifen Pui

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The weighing process..

I learnt many things from this event, including teamwork, care and perseverance. While collecting the trash in the muddy, slippery and somewhat dangerous conditions, we looked out for each other as well as well as advised each other on what trash to pick and where. We also had to work together to take the heavy bin bags out, and that taught me how to be patient and persevere through it!

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A selfie (or wefie) with Sivasothi.N, the leader of the cleanup. I’m on the left with all my school friends that came.

I learnt to co-operate with everyone despite the fact that I was sweaty and tired! I had to push myself a bit to be more responsible by waking up early enough to travel by public transport as well as making sure I had packed all the necessary things to ensure a smooth experience at the cleanup. When it came to passing on the heavy garbage bags to make a pile, I almost felt like giving up because of fatigue. Despite this, I tried to stay in front of the line to help put the bags in a pile!

Most importantly the cleanup taught me the responsibility  I have to the environment. I am now so much more aware of the need to recycle and reuse, because I have seen with my own eyes and touched with my own hands, the negative impact of waste on nature. I hope to be more mindful about conserving resources, not buying more than I need as well as disposing of trash properly. It’s the small things that make the change.


Thanks to NUS Toddycats, ICCS and LKCNHM for the photos used in this blogpost. Please see the full photo album here at Flickr.

If you would like to attend a coastal cleanup organised by the ICCS, do visit their website for more details. 

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6 thoughts on “Coastal cleanup at Lim Chu Kang, Singapore

  1. What a great thing to do! Not only do these events help the environment by removing trash, but they also help instill a more pro-environment identity among those who participate in them. That’s very important!

    1. Definitely! I’m sure everyone left the clean-up feeling inspired to care for the environment more, I definitely did 🙂

  2. Well done with your efforts to clean up the area. I spend a lot of time trying to clear up the mess that people leave behind them near our village and around the county with volunteers who work with us. I hate to see the mess that humans are making of the planet, but it is a good feeling to have made a bit of a difference.

    1. Hi Nick, Thank you! That’s so great, wow! yes, it feels so good that you want to keep doing it. There’s so many benefits to working together as a team to clean the environment 🙂

  3. I’m in total agreement with your last sentence, “It’s the small things that make the change.” Indeed, if each of us do our part in protecting the environment, collectively I think we can do much good. The first step would be to start getting educated on the beauty that we see around nature and I think your blog does a great job of that. So keep up the great work! I enjoy reading your posts.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Dan. I agree with your sentiment too! If people are aware of the beauty of nature around them..the love and passion to protect it will come naturally, which is what happened to me and lead me to starting my blog! I just saw your blog and followed, its lovely! Looking forward to reading more of your posts:)

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