500kg: Volunteers kayak to remove trash in three hours

Some of the 100 or so volunteers who spent three hours collecting trash between Sembawang Beach and Seletar Island yesterday. The Clean-Up on Kayak event was organised by the MPA.
Some of the 100 or so volunteers who spent three hours collecting trash between Sembawang Beach and Seletar Island yesterday. The Clean-Up on Kayak event was organised by the MPA.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

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

These were among the trash collected during a three-hour clean-up of Singapore's waters yesterday 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.

The event 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.

MAKING AN IMPACT

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

MR AQIL LUQMAN ZAMBERI, second-year RP outdoor and adventure learning student, 19, on such clean-up activities.

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.

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

He 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 yesterday, said such activities go a long way in keeping the environment clean.

"Every effort that we make to improve something has an impact.

"It is better to do something about it than let it get worse," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 01, 2017, with the headline '500kg: Volunteers kayak to remove trash in three hours'. Print Edition | Subscribe