Saturday, September 12, 2009

International Coastal Cleanup at Semakau

In conjunction with the International Coastal Cleanup this year, HSBC and RMBR Nature Guides decided to organise a cleanup at Semakau! We had a total of 54 HSBC volunteers and 6 RMBR Nature Guides. And last week, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) contacted me, and 24 staff decided to join us.

The HSBC volunteers and RMBR guides met up at Marina South Pier to take a chartered ferry, while the MEWR staff chartered their own transport.

This was the ferry we took - i Marlin.

Everyone soon arrived, and off we went to board the boat!

The boat ride to Semakau took about 45 minutes. I conducted a briefing on the cleanup on the boat as well.

And soon, we reached the island and started our cleanup!

The tide wasn't very low today actually, and so we only managed to clean up the upper shore.

Here were some of the MEWR Staff busy cleaning up the beach.

And here were some of the HSBC volunteers! They sure had collected quite a bit of trash!

Despite the hard work, everyone was all ready to smile at the camera.

Why were the gals looking at Casey's butt? I was certainly clueless. Guess you probably need to be a gal to know how to appreciate a guy's butt. Haha...

There were really a lot of trash on the shore. Not sure if they were left by the previous villagers of the island, or brought in by the tide. Despite our hard work, I think we had hardly cleared even 30 percent of the trash, or perhaps even 20 percent!

Even after a few hours of hard work under the scorching sun, the ladies were still all smiling and cheerful. They hardly look tired at all!

Won't say the same thing about the guys though. Sigh... (ok ok. this is a posed shot. Just kidding... Haha...)

After picking up the rubbish, we had the tedious task of carrying them back to the collection point. For the group at the furthest zone, it was lugging over 20kg worth of rubbish each for almost 1.5km!

Finally, we reached the entrance to the secondary forest...

Some of the bags were so heavy, that the volunteers had to place them on improvised "sledges" (discarded plastic sheets) to drag them along, or the bag would just break under the weight.

And here's one of our muscleman carrying a... piece of styrofoam? This was certainly one of the weirdest trash we found - several gigantic styrofoam pieces - some were almost as tall as some of us!

Finally, we reached the collection and washup point on the main road.

And it's time to weigh the trash collected!

Some of the bigger trash were weighed individually rather than in a trash bag.

Thanks to the National Environment Agency, our collection method was really cool too! they actually provided a bulldozer!

Soon, all the trash were loaded onto the bulldozer.

How about a group photo after the hard work?

After NEA removed the collected rubbish, we headed to the southernmost point of Pulau Semakau for a picnic!

Some of the HSBC volunteers brought their kites to fly there.

The wind was certainly very ideal for flying kite here!

Sure it was a scorching day and everyone was very tired, but it was definitely a very fun experience for all too! And I am sure now everyone can better appreciate how bad the littering situation is in Singapore!

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