More long-term clean-up action needed

It was exciting to read about the beach clean-up initiative recently; hopefully, it will motivate more people to be involved in such activities (200 spend Saturday at the beach picking up rubbish; Sept 2).

Many organisations and companies have been involved in such clean-ups but the situation is so dire now that such one-time activities are not enough, more long-term action is needed.

I have been involved in clean-ups of some stretches of beach along East Coast Park and I can easily fill two or three bags with what appears to be a combination of trash discarded by beach users and ships out at sea, as well as junk that had been floating in the ocean for a while and had finally washed ashore.

Much of this trash is plastic, but other items include oil containers, detergent bottles, light bulbs, flip-flops, polystyrene and glass bottles.

Ships offloading their rubbish into the ocean instead of taking it back to dispose of properly is a major problem.

Education and awareness are key, but enforcement has a part to play in curbing the use of plastic, in particular.

Most importantly, the mentality that "it's not my problem and that someone else will clean it up" has to change so that the cost of clean-ups and damage to our environment will be greatly reduced.

Barbara Stephanie Hirayama (Mrs)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2018, with the headline 'More long-term clean-up action needed'. Print Edition | Subscribe