500kg of trash collected in event to tackle litter in waterways

Calvin Yang Straits Times 30 Sep 17;

SINGAPORE - Children's toys, food wrappers, plastic containers, water bottles and even motorcycle helmets.

These are some of the trash collected during a three-hour clean-up of Singapore's waters on Saturday (Sept 30) morning.

About 500kg of rubbish was collected by about 100 volunteers, comprising students and members of the public, who ventured out in groups on kayaks to collect trash between Sembawang Beach and Seletar Island.

The Clean-Up on Kayak event, organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), aims to raise awareness of the need to protect Singapore's marine environment. It was held in conjunction with the International Coastal Clean-up, an annual global event to encourage people to remove trash from beaches and waterways.

Besides those who were on kayaks, some 20 volunteers were stationed on Seletar Island to sort the marine litter and record the types of trash collected.

Data gathered from the clean-up will be submitted to United States-based advocacy group Ocean Conservancy for further analysis and research.

The initiative started last year, with about 60 volunteers participating in it then.

Trash collected from Singapore's waters on Sept 30, 2017

MPA chief executive Andrew Tan said keeping waterways clean is a shared responsibility.

He also encouraged more ground-up efforts from the community to do their part for marine environment sustainability.

MPA has plans for the Clean-Up on Kayak activity to be done on a quarterly, instead of annual, basis. For a start, Republic Polytechnic (RP) will conduct a session in March next year.

Second-year RP outdoor and adventure learning student Aqil Luqman Zamberi, 19, who participated in the clean-up on Saturday, said such an activity goes a long way in keeping the environment clean.

"Every effort that we make to improve something has impact. It is better to do something about it than let it get worse," he added.