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Author/Editor:
N. Sivasothi,
a.k.a. Otterman,
Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore. Since 1998 with origins from OneList.


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Thu 01 Aug 2013

The "Marine Life and the Impact of Plastics" lecture (Sat 03 Aug 2013) and the Post-National Day Mangrove Cleanup (Sat 10 Aug 2013)

Category : coastalcleanup

Sat 03 Aug 2013 @ NUS LT 32
"The Marine Life and the Impact of Plastics lecture"

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore Coordinator N. Sivasothi aka Otterman will regale the audience with fascinating tales of local marine life in Singapore including recent records and local programmes which help to protect these animals.

He will highlight the impact of marine debris and plastics in particular, drawing from a field of scientific research and data from cleanups from around the world. This is the 22nd year of the International Coastal Cleanup in Singapore, and he will discuss what the data tells us.

Should we give up? Is the problem insurmountable? Have we made any progress? Hear the discussion about local solutions, methods which have worked at cleanups and at practises at work.

Be a part of national effort to be considerate to the environment and to love Singapore a little more!

Saturday 03 August 2013: 9.00am – 11.00pm
Lecture Theatre 32 [map], National University of Singapore.

Take SBS Bus 95 from Buona Vista MRT.
park at Car Park 10 or University Hall, off Lower Kent Ridge Road.

Please REGISTER at tinyurl.com/iccs-lecture

ICCS-RGS-23aug2011.key

ICCS-RGS-23aug2011.key

NJC Green Seminar -25feb2011.key

NJC Green Seminar -25feb2011.key

ICCS2011_02-The impact of marine debris

ICCS2011_02-The impact of marine debris

ICCS2011_02-The impact of marine debris

ICCS-RGS-23aug2011.key

ICCS-RGS-23aug2011.key-4

NJC Green Seminar -25feb2011.key

ICCS Data 2011


Saturday 10 Aug 2013 @ Lim Chu Kang mangrove
The Post-National Day Mangrove Cleanup

Celebrate our National Day by joining the annual mangrove cleanup at Lim Chu Kang!

Saturday, 10th August 2013: 0745 (bus pick up) - 1100 (return)
Sign up by Wed 7th Aug 2013 at the
ICCS News webpage

Lim Chu Kang mangrove is a beautiful and unique patch of unprotected mangrove in Singapore, facing the Western Straits of Johor. The mangrove has educated decades of students and it holds many stories about animal and plant life and heritage in Singapore. In 2008, it was revealed that the Sungei Buloh Master Plan would include the Lim Chu Kang mangroves.

Trash from the Johor Straits deposits on this Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove regularly and various individuals and groups help to tackle this burden through organised cleanup throughout the year. The post-National Day Mangrove Cleanup is an important exercise which helps protect and maintain this precious patch of mangrove.

We'll provide gloves and transport, you come with a strong heart and eager hands to do a good job. For details and to sign up, check the announcement on ICCS News.

Objectives and Safety Briefing at Lim Chu Kang Road end
006pre-national-day-cleanup-lim_chu_kang-06aug2011[kpinto]

Get into action immediately!
038pre-national-day-cleanup-lim_chu_kang-06aug2011[kpinto]

064pre-national-day-cleanup-lim_chu_kang-06aug2011[kpinto]

067pre-national-day-cleanup-lim_chu_kang-06aug2011[kpinto]

Weighing trash
55preNDcoastalcleanup-04aug2012

Disposal of trash
Pre-NDP Lim Chu Kang Mangrove Cleanup 2011

Summary of the morning's effort and debrief
Pre-NDP Lim Chu Kang Mangrove Cleanup 2011

Posted at 5:18AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Fri 15 Mar 2013

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore: Invitation for Organisers to register and the Recruitment for Volunteer Coordinators

Category : coastalcleanup

The International Coastal Cleanup is an annual data-collecting exercise conducted in some 70 countries around the world. The progamme in Singapore (ICCS) sees some 60 organisations lead 4,000 volunteers to hit the beaches in September to collect, categorise and dispose of marine trash affecting our shores.

Participants learn the issues affecting our seas first hand and experienced Organisers take it further - they educate participants about marine life of Singapore, impacts to our oceans, examine the national and international data and grapple with the curse of single-use consumer plastic. They consider how to reduce use and disposal for recycling. Action in daily life is a powerful avenue to lead to larger scale solutions.

041iccs-lim_chu_kang_east-08sep2012[kgp]

Registration for Organisers

Registration by veteran and new Organisers alike for the 2013 programme was announced last week. See the details at the ICCS News blog.

The ICCS Otters who coordinate the programme meet on 22 Mar 2013 to begin the Site Allocation Exercise. They are a small group of dedicated people who have been volunteering with ICCS for up to a decade or more.

They conduct site recces, map locations and register organisations, liase with NEA and NParks, conduct workshops for Organisers, host the annual ICCS Lecture, collate the national data and facilitate and organise cleanups year round.

They work efficiently and try to keep individual work load to a manageable amount, balancing work and volunteering efforts. With the programme, they are efficient and responsive. Meetings and emails are kept to a minimum to prevent burn outs, and the team is able make a long-term contribution.

Recruitment for Coordinators

Every year, recruitment is conducted for Site Buddies and Site Captains and the 2013 recruitment has just been announced. This year the search is on for volunteer coordinators as well.

If this sounds like this is up your alley, see the ICCS News blog for details.


Kelly Ong, Pandan Site Captain since 2008

48iccs-chek_jawa_south-08sep2012[adinesh]
ICCS Chek Jawa South, 2012

Posted at 7:37AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Sat 03 Dec 2011

If you go for ONE talk this year, this is it: Ria Tan's "Secret Shores of Singapore" talk is unparalleled and she speaks from the heart.

Category : talks

National Geographic Singapore Store2014Exhibits

Ria Tan of Wild Singapore and Wild Shores of Singapore speaks TODAY (Sat 03 Dec 2011: 2.30pm) at The National Geographic Store at VivoCity, 1 HarbourFront Walk, #01-19 [website]

She says,

"No need to swim, no need to dive! Ordinary people can experience much of Singapore’s amazing marine life on the intertidal shores. Otters, wild dolphins, sea turtles, sea snakes, living corals and more!

I’ll be sharing lots of photos from our regular trips to about 40 local seashore locations. Lots of stories of recent adventures, and how we can make a difference for our wild shores. Bring your friends and family for a comfy intro to our amazing shores!"

A two-time recipient of the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium Award (2003, 2007) presented to exceptional volunteers who have contributed selflessly to biodiversity in Singapore, she has been indefatigable since I worked with her in 2000.

Her mission to spread awareness about Singapore's biodiversity began over a decade ago. In 2001, she played a critical role in the conservation of Chek Jawa. That fueled her to do more and she began to investigate our shores, generating voluminous tagged and labelled photos on Flickr which have become an international resource. A walking encyclopedia, she probably knows if any marine species has ever appeard on our shores! No wonder she is a valuable ally to scientists investigating marine life in Singapore.

She also supports and promotes others through Wild Singapore, a one stop resource for Singapore which sets an example for private and government efforts in resource generation. She learns, uses and adapts simple tools and it is backed by her marine life expeditions, participation in the community and engagement with people on the ground.

Her powerful delivery during her slide talk is the result of a LOT of preparation to integrate all that information bursting inside of her. When she compressed this into a 10-minute presentation at the Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium III, she inadvertently created compulsory course material for the LSM1103 Biodiversity class in the National University of Singapore as well as for Organisers and Volunteers of the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore.

If you go for ONE talk this year, this is it. Ria Tan's "Secret Shores of Singapore" is unparalleled and she speaks from the heart. Don't wish you could be there, just go!

Posted at 5:41AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Wed 23 Nov 2011

The ICCS Year-Round Cleanups at Tanah Merah East

Category : coastalcleanup

The International Coastal Cleannup Singapore has announced a programme for Year-Round cleanups for the beaches at Tanah Merah East in 2012. They are mnow recruiting volunteer Site Buddies interested in managing cleanups three times a year.

To find out more, click the image below.

Posted at 1:14PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Tue 17 Aug 2010

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore coordinators' National Day cheer

Category : coastalcleanup

The ICCS Otters who coordinate the island-wide International Coastal Cleanup Singapore were busy congratulating fellow-volunteer Cheng Wei Siong for his appearance in Today's National Day feature called "Singapore Dreaming".

Written by Temasek Polytechnic students pursuing a Diploma in Communications and Media Management, the special featured a variety of Singaporeans - "To imagine what this island nation could be like 20, 30 years from now, is to look inside the heads of its dreamers."

Sharing the page with Wei Siong is fellow-environmentalist Raina Ong who says, "I wish we all recycled".

In the ICCS programme, Wei Siong keeps the company of an illustrious group of volunteers who have served with the programme for many years, adopting a slow and steady approach to prevent burn out and disappearance. They recce sites, communicate and mentor organisers, coordinate cleanup sessions, ensure data submissions are accurate, blog, twitter and are the most tireless on the shores during the actual cleanups. Year after year, for they are all veterans.

When National Day dawned on 9th August, the ICCS Otters were cheered to see Wei Siong featured and delcared him a "poster boy" for the ICCS! Though a relative youngster, Wei Siong has been with the programme for eight years as participant, Site Captain and Zone Captain since his secondary school days (he is now a 2nd-year student in NTU). He has weathered his 'O' levels, 'A' levels, army days and university life while maintaining a role as a coordinator of the programme all this while - as he says in the article, "we have a personal responsibility for the health of the ocean".

The beauty of all this? Like his fellow coordinators, the only physical thing he gets from the programme is a t-shirt! The real reward, obviously, is priceless.

"I hope people realise that every little action makes a difference"

Cheong Wei Siong, 21, student and environmental volunteer

by Ng Hui Wen
05:55 AM Aug 09, 2010

"It's easy for him to hit Control-C and Control-V whenever he comes across a website talking about the ailing environment.

But for Cheong Wei Siong, forwarding emails to his friends and leaving website links on their chat windows is never quite as fulfilling as his work with International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS).

There, he is able to reach up to 1,500 Singaporeans a year. And it is his hope that more people would have their eyes opened to the impact of their everyday actions on the environment.

It takes more than just getting the participants of ICCS' programmes to pick up the bottle caps, toothbrushes, plastic cups and other litter that pollutes the shores. Mr Cheong tells them stories of how birds, turtles and fishes are harmed after swallowing such items.

And when participants, who are usually sent by schools and companies, witness this first hand, they can see that "marine debris doesn't fall from the sky but from human hands".

Before each cleanup, participants attend workshops where they learn how the collected trash contributes to data used in tackling marine pollution.

It was his experience in just such a programme with his secondary school eight years ago that led Mr Cheong to contribute to the ICCS' cause. He came across a few horseshoe crabs entangled in discarded nets.

"It was a disheartening sight," he said. "This very first cleanup made me realise that we have a personal responsibility for the health of the ocean."

He remained active throughout his JC and army days, serving as a mangrove site coordinator for three years.

Now, he oversees the cleanup operation on beaches along the country's north-eastern shore.

But the nature lover, who is now pursuing business administration at the Nanyang Technological University, still believes it is the little actions that go a long way. At home, he switches off the lights when not in use and keeps his air conditioner at 25°C.

"As long as people do the minimum, that's actually really good already," he said."

Posted at 1:03PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Tue 13 Apr 2010

"Trash Travels," the 2010 International Coastal Cleanup Report

Category : coastalcleanup

13 Apr 2010 - Ocean Conservancy releases Trash Travels: From Our Hands to the Sea, Around the Globe, and Through Time, the only global snapshot of the marine debris problem facing wildlife, economies and marine ecosystems. See the Ocean Conservancy page for a summary. To read the full report, download the 11MB pdf here.

Posted at 6:09PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Wed 30 Sep 2009

The beached Mud lobster at Pasir Ris

Category : marine

19 Sep 2009 - During the International Coastal Cleanup last Saturday, the team who arrived there early that morning encountered a mud lobster out of its element, on the beach. Participants told each other that it was "welcoming us to clean the beach." Apparently it was there for at least an hour before they lost of track of it while engrossed in the cleanup.


Photo by Lim Chen Kee, ICCS

Read about their exploits at the "News from the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore" blog:

Posted at 4:03AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Sat 16 Aug 2008

International Coastal Cleanup Singapore 2008: Site and Participant Status

Category : marine

The Raffles Museum Toddycats who coordinate the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) met last night over Old Chang Kee curry puffs and a couple of pizzas in NUS. The Zone Captains, Data Manager and a few others sorted through the information, requests, email conversations and reallocations that have been pouring in since May in order to update the status of the organisations and sites that will be the scene of activity on the morning of 20th September 2008.

It won't just be volunteers in Singapore that hit the shores that day, volunteers in countries around the world will be taking to the beach as well, in order to data for a global perspective about marine trash.

At this stage, beach and mangrove recces have started - these are being conducted by Zone and Site Captains and also for new organisers at various beach and mangrove sites in preparation for the actual day. A briefing for Site Buddies who help supervise operations will be conducted on 13th September 2008.

More news uupdates will be posted to the ICCS blog at coastalcleanup.wordpress.com.

Posted at 3:42AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Thu 24 Jul 2008

Horseshoe crabs rescued from a ghost net in Mandai mangrove

Category : marine

Horseshoe crabs have been around for at least 445 million years, predating the dinosaurs and they are facing their greatest challenges during the Anthropocene - habitat loss, pollution, over-fishing and ghost net entanglement. The latter arises when fishermen abandon or lose their strong mono-filament gill nets; these do not degrade but will instead repeatedly entangle all sorts of animals in mangroves, rocky shore, coral reefs, sea grass and sandy shores.

This is happening in Singapore too. Like my fellow naturalists and field biologists, I have had to rescue horseshoe crabs, forceps crabs, birds and even snakes over the past two decades. Habitatnews has highlighted just a couple of these rescues (e. g. Lazarus Island, 2004; Mandai, 2005) and the Nature Society (Singapore) has a regular rescue team that works the Mandai mudflats. These days it seems almost every low tide trip to a mangrove reveals ghost nets - e.g. shooting for Once Upon a Tree 2, a shore visit suring the last Pedal Ubin and the recent Lim Chu Kang mangrove cleanup as well.

Mandai mudflats and mangroves have such a high incidence of ghost nets that I pack a scissors and factor in time for gill net removal each time before I set out - film shoot, education trip or work trip. Unfortunately, today was no different - NUS biology honours student Theresa Su, Raffles Museum Toddycat Teo Kah Ming and myself carefully released about 20 mangrove horseshoe crabs that were still living. Kah Ming had counted 87 carapaces entangled and adacent to the net so most had died some time ago.

We checked each individual to be sure and carefully removed the nylon filaments that had weaved between and around their limbs. The chelicerates (horseshoe crabs are not crabs) were not feisty but happily not too limp - so they were recent entanglements but probably not last night's. Once freed, we left them clustered in various tide pools nearby with some hope that they would survive. The net was cut into three lengths and carried out in a bag made from a large-mesh ghost net lying nearby.

There are still nets out there, I know, and with research trips increasing, hopefully it will come to a time when my scissors can stay in the bag!


Mangrove horseshoe crab entanglement at Mandai Besar mangroves.


Kah Ming and Theresa checking the gill net line for live ones
- about 20 of 87 entangled chelicerates were still alive.


Another animal cleared of entanglement by our trusty scissors!

Posted at 3:01PM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email |

Sun 06 Apr 2008

NEA's weather page has rain data with landmark overlays

Category : internet

I found the NEA's Local Weather page useful for monitoring cleanup sites during the International Coasta Cleanup Singapore last year. The data from weather radar is updated every 15 mins and now I see that you can click to add overlays including those of HDB towns, nature parks and MRT stations to help orientate you.

I do wish NParks URLs to which the park icons are linked to were named URLs instead of numbers so they could double as landmarks without having to click through, but it all an excellent enhancement by NEA to the weather page. This image was taken during the mid-afternoon shower over Holland Village today.

Local Weather - with overlays

Posted at 7:12AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Read more ...

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