Before sunrise this morning, while the rest of Singapore slept, 72 young eco-champions quietly cleaned beaches in Pulau Ubin in a coastal cleanup organised by the Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) Alumni.
These youths, aged 15 to 26, plus four teachers from Manjursri Secondary School, brought their own recycled plastic bags and collected a total of 76 bags of trash weighing 1,237 kg.
This is conducted ahead of the International Coastal Cleanup Day on 21 September 2013.
“This was truly an enriching experience for me. I didn’t expect the beaches were very dirty. I realised today that we have a serious pollution problem in Singapore. People should learn to be more considerate to our environment and to our marine wildlife.,” shared 16-year-old Chee Xiang Juan, a student from Manjusri Secondary School.”
15-year old Priscilla Goh from Tanjong Katong Girls’ School added, “I just hope more people are made aware of this and not simply discard their rubbish so selfishly. I actually picked up a few dead sea crabs earlier, and it was really heartbreaking.”
The volunteers were taught how to categorise and record the trash collected. In all, they collected 1,394 plastic bags, 662 food wrappers and 428 plastic bottles.
The data submitted to the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) will give valuable insights to the strategies needed to tackle the marine trash problem around the world.
OBS hopes that the workshop and sharing sessions will spur youths to think about the origins and the impact of the marine debris, and empower them to be ambassadors for a cleaner environment.
Recognising the value of the eco-inititative, Manjusri Secondary School is a long-time supporter of the annual OBS coastal cleanup. Three teachers and 20 students from the school volunteered for this event.
61-year-old Operations Manager Mr Lai Sow Hung, who happens to be the oldest volunteer, shared, “This is an excellent initiative OBS has done. We really need to create awareness on the environmental issues in Singapore, and to build a more environmental-conscious community. I was cutting ropes and clearing a lot of plastic sandbags earlier. Even construction materials were left behind. This should not be the way at all.”