Marine Trash Collection by 120 Volunteers in Kayaks to Help Protect Singapore’s Marine Environment

120 volunteers turned up for the Clean-Up on Kayak activity organized by Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) at Sembawang PA Water Venture this morning.

Held in conjunction with International Coastal Clean-up Day (ICC Day), 100 volunteers were on kayaks to collect marine debris in Singapore waters while 20 remained on land to sort and record the marine litter for data analysis.

Clean-Up on Kayak is an initiative started by MPA last year to raise greater awareness on the importance of protecting Singapore’s marine environment to young Singaporeans. 60 volunteers participated in the inaugural event in 2016. The ICC Day is an annual event that encourages people around the world to remove trash from the world’s beaches and waterways.

Marine debris not only cause pollution that could harm the environment, they can also be navigational hazards to ships. To keep our port waters clean and ensure that vessels are able to navigate safety, MPA deploys garbage collection and flotsam retrieval craft to collect garbage from ships anchored in our port and to retrieve flotsam and debris along the common channels, fairways and anchorages.

Since February this year, MPA increased the number of craft deployed daily from four to five with the twin results of covering a wider area and clearing these marine debris at a faster pace.

MPA also works with other government agencies such as NEA and NParks as well as the maritime community to keep Singapore waters and the beaches clean.  Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA, said, “Keeping our waters clean is a shared responsibility and we would like to support more ground-up efforts from the community to encourage fellow Singaporeans to do their part for marine environment sustainability.”

Volunteers collect trash in kayaks

To galvanize ground-up efforts and greater participation from the community, MPA is identifying partners to organize the Clean-Up on Kayak activity on a quarterly instead of annual basis. The Republic Polytechnic (RP) is taking the lead to organize a session in March 2018. Students from the School of Outdoor and Adventure Learning will plan what, where and how to run the Clean-Up on Kayak activity next March.

Aqil Luqman Bin Zamberi, a second-year student from Republic Polytechnic who is pursuing a Diploma in Outdoor and Adventure Learning Republic Polytechnic, said, “This is a meaningful activity and we are excited with the opportunity to lead the March event next year. We hope that other environmental enthusiasts will also take up the challenge to encourage fellow Singaporeans to join us in keeping Singapore waters clean and do their part for the environment.”