Celebrating National Day with a mangrove cleanup!

If you want to join me this year – hop over to the advert at ICCS News.

Four years ago I decided I’d celebrate National Day early with a coastal cleanup at Lim Chu Kang mangroves. I could not wait until September’s ICCS before we relieved Lim Chu Kang beach and mangrove of its trash load, so I sent out word. I had the company of some of the Raffles Museum Toddycats who help run ICCS and others from the nature/environment volunteer community and the public.

I’ve kept it up so now it’s a tradition. See photos from 2008, 2009, Album 1Album 2.

Since it’s the Saturday before National Day, I do call it the pre-National Day mangrove cleanup for clarity – in case people get confused and turn up the wrong day!

A National Day workout; it’s back-breaking work

Event preparation is now reduced to taking a few steps over a couple of hours if I’m alert. I take a deep breath and get to it:

  1. Update the blog post/advert announcing the event (eyeball the meeting point earlier just in case),
  2. Update the GDocs registration form and have someone double-check.
  3. Dig out the gear from the museum cupboard (or the corner of my office):
    1. gloves,
    2. trash bags,
    3. weighing scales,
    4. insect repellent,
    5. a couple of clipboards for recording weight,
    6. supplementary first aid kits (I have my own).
  4. Email Greasi @ Raffles Museum office to book a two-way trip bus.
  5. Post to the advert to ICCS News and provide links at the Raffles Museum Toddycats blog and here. Ria Tan will post the link on WildSingapore News and/or WildSingapore Happenings and some or all of these links will be shared on facebook. This is the minimum we do for each event and it is enough to reach the active natural history community.
  6. Email volunteers, with confirmed transport arrangements.
  7. Execute the cleanup, wash and dry gloves and return all stores.

It ain’t over until the gloves are dried and returned to store

There are indeed people who will lend a hand once things are organised. By early August, I would have emailed the 30-50 volunteers who step forward. A little additional work is matching up drivers with a passenger or two near their homes – this is helpful as there is less waste of fuel, the passengers get to wake up a little later and everyone get to chat during the drive down.

Then all that remains is for me to move the bagful of equipment to Life Science Lab 7 the previous day and ensure I wake up in time to reach campus that Saturday by 7am. After a short briefing at the site, the enthusiastic and mostly savvy volunteers do need much supervision. So I do get to enjoy making my spot in the mangrove a better place – it’s an antidote for all the times I walk by during a research trip and can only kick at a piece of plastic in the mud in disgust.

National Day cleanup 2010

Photos by Airani S and Andy Dinesh.


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