Volunteers "IsLand-A-Hand" to Pulau Ubin, Coney Island as part of OBS exercise

In "Project IsLand-A-Hand", more than 400 volunteers head to Pulau Ubin and Coney Island to engage in various activities, including reforestation and constructing fences to prevent trash from washing ashore.
Nadia Jansen Hassan Channel NewsAsia 30 Nov 15;

SINGAPORE: In a bid to encourage the public to foster a better sense of appreciation for the environment, Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) on Monday (Nov 30) organised its largest conservation exercise to date.

More than 400 volunteers aged 15 to 50 were sent to Pulau Ubin and Coney Island for the exercise, known as "Project IsLand-A-Hand". They engaged in various activities, such as constructing fences to prevent trash from washing ashore, as well as planting 40 saplings in the area on Pulau Ubin where a fire broke out in March last year.

More than 50 per cent of the volunteers were assigned to coastal clean ups, and they picked up 2.4 tonnes of trash from a 400-metre stretch along the southern shore of Pulau Ubin and the northern shore of Coney Island. The trash was then shipped to the main collection points in Punggol, Ubin Village and Jelutong, where they will be disposed.

The event, which lasted for about seven hours, started at 7.45am.

"If our trash is left floating on the beaches, the waters, it affects the environment and the liveability of these animals," said Mr Ng Thian Choon, deputy director of programmes and partnerships at OBS. "By rallying our youth to partake in this effort, our hope is that it continues to be enriching and inviting to the flora and fauna around us."

Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee was guest-of-honour at the event. He emphasised that the Government will continue to provide platforms to assist with environmental conservation, but added that the choice to join is ultimately with Singaporeans.

He said: "The Government will initiate and run things. We've always done so, and we'll continue to do so. But I think it's so much more valuable if people answer the call to action and lead the charge themselves."

- CNA/av

Over 400 young people get hands dirty for green cause
Audrey Tan, The Straits Times AsiaOne 1 Dec 15;

More than 400 young people yesterday forgot their Monday blues by going green instead.

Spread out over rustic Pulau Ubin and Coney Island - offshore islands north-east of Singapore - they picked up litter, pulled up weeds, planted trees and built fences to catch sea debris.

It was part of Outward Bound Singapore's (OBS) first outdoor conservation classroom, which aims to help people better appreciate the natural environment.

"It is much easier to litter than to clean up," said Darren Ng, 15, after pulling out a fishing net buried deep in the sand with the help of three friends.

"I am more conscious about taking care of the environment and not littering," added the Secondary 3 student from St Gabriel's Secondary School.

In all, the volunteers picked up enough trash, ranging from plastic bags to discarded tyres, to fill 300 bags. The rubbish collected weighed a total of 2.4 tonnes.

The volunteers, mostly aged between 15 and 35, comprised mainly alumni from past OBS programmes, although some roped in friends and family.

Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee was the guest of honour at the event. He told the media that the event was about "getting Singaporeans into the thick of action".

"It is a call to action, and they have answered it... out of their own time; some took leave, some came from school, others during the holidays," said Mr Lee.

Besides picking up trash and pulling up weeds, the volunteers also planted 60 saplings. OBS deputy director of programmes and partnerships Ng Thian Choon said there are plans to make the outdoor conservation classroom a yearly event.

He said: "We go outdoors often and use it for our leisure and our own purposes... I hope participants are reminded of their responsibility to protect, conserve, beautify and improve it."

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