Volunteers from the SIF Community Clean Up the Beach to Mark World Water Day
Forty people fanned out along Selimang Beach in Singapore’s north coast to pick up rubbish over two sessions in March. They were marking World Water Day, which falls yearly on 22nd March.
Almost 400 kg of trash were collected from Selimang Beach in Sembawang during the two-day activity.
The participants included alumni of the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) various programmes, Singapore International Volunteers (SIV) or Citizen Ambassadors, corporate partners such as Nikko Asset Management and ITE College East as well as SIF staff. Green Nudge, which promotes sustainability efforts and is a 2018 alumni of the SIF’s Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) programme, helped to organise the two sessions.
After each clean-up, the group gathered under the shady trees of the lovely Sembawang Park to share their thoughts about how everyone can play a role in keeping our environment clean, the importance of water conservation and sustainability.
The clean-ups also provided an opportunity for the SIF to re-engage our volunteers and friends who had a meaningful experience. Several volunteers said the event enabled them to connect with like-minded people. Mr Roy Tan, Section Head of Chemical Process Technology at ITE College East, said it reminded him of the times when he volunteered in the SIF’s Water for Life programme with his students.
He said: “We would work together to install bio-sand filters under the hot sun. It was hard work, but every minute was worth it. Although the nature of the volunteering here was different, I found the team spirit and passion to make a difference was the same across both volunteering experiences. I was amazed by the kind of things that were found along the coastline and that became conversation topics that connected strangers and made them friends.”
Mr Gerard Tan (SIV) said the event provided an opportunity to learn new things: “It helped me to become more aware of marine pollution issues especially as it relates to plastic waste. I also enjoyed the opportunity to contribute to a better world and meeting other like-minded people.”
The activity also moved Ms Kikuko Mori, Product Specialist at Nikko Asset Management to make an environmental commitment. From Japan, this was her first beach clean-up in Singapore. She said: “After seeing the enormous number of plastic straws, I am forever going to say no to them.”
Mr Heng Li Seng, the founder of Green Nudge and YSE programme alumnus said: “It is heartening to know that volunteers from all walks of life came together to protect the environment and prevent harm to marine life. We have also been able to leverage the data collected to understand the potential types of waste found in the area and support future policy work to manage marine litter in and around Singapore.”
Another YSE alumnus who took part was Mr Lim Chong Tee, Co-Founder of WateROAM (YSE Global 2015) – a social enterprise that works with international and local partners to provide better access to safe drinking water around the world. He said: “The beach clean-up with the SIF community shows that every individual can play a part to minimise pollution, create cleaner spaces, and protect our marine ecosystems and environment.
“Activities like this can also help educate people on issues such as inter-coastal pollution. I am glad to have joined the SIF and Green Nudge for the clean-up. Together, we can make our shores more liveable and habitable – for beachgoers and marine life alike.”