Dragon boaters and S'pore Children's Society beneficiaries team up to clean Lower Seletar Reservoir, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Dragon boaters and S'pore Children's Society beneficiaries team up to clean Lower Seletar Reservoir

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Twenty-six dragon boaters and young people teamed up to clean Lower Seletar Reservoir on Wednesday (March 16) to raise awareness about water conservation.

The group comprised 16 youth beneficiaries from the Singapore Children's Society (SCS) and 10 members of Singapore Dragons, a group of dragon boaters aged 40 to 70 who train regularly at the reservoir and compete internationally.

Paddling kayaks and dragon boats, the volunteers removed hydrilla - an aquatic plant - and litter from the water, as PUB mascots Water Wally and Sally cheered on the participants from a bright yellow boat.

The event was organised by the Centre for Affective Management, Experiential Learning and Outdoor Training (Camelot) and supported by PUB, the national water agency.

Camelot is one of more than 370 participating partners in PUB's annual community movement to celebrate Singapore World Water Day, which schools, corporations and community groups commemorate through ground-up initiatives held throughout March.

The cleanup was organised to encourage people to appreciate Singapore's clean waterways and keep them clean.

Singapore Dragons members routinely clear litter from the reservoir during their weekly training sessions. The group is based at the Lower Seletar Water Sports Centre, which is managed by Camelot.

Camelot operations manager Muhd Azharin, 37, said: "Along the way, while they do their training, if they see any rubbish, they will help to pick it up."

Among rubbish typically fished out of the water are plastic bags, food wrappers and the occasional golf ball.

Besides Lower Seletar Reservoir, the group has organised cleanups in Kallang and the Marina Barrage.

Mr Francis Ng, 70, said: "It gives us a sort of sense of belonging - like we own this place. If we don't clean it, who else is going to clean? We feel that cleaning up is part and parcel of this sport."

Mr Ng, who has been dragon boating for more than 40 years, joined the Singapore Dragons at its inception in 2017 and is its oldest member.

Ms Surina Hee, 61, who has also been a member since the group started, recalled how when the reservoir first opened, there was a lot of hydrilla floating on the water. It made rowing there difficult.

"I believe all the rowers enjoy cleaning up too because it gives us a better place to row," she added.

The Singapore Dragons will compete in the 2022 Century Race at Jurong Lake next week, their first race in more than two years.

Mr Francis Ng (left) and Ms Surina Hee are are senior paddlers from SG Dragons. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Mr Koh Jing Chie, 28, a PUB engineer stationed at Lower Seletar Reservoir, said the agency regularly removes the topmost layers of hydrilla to prevent overgrowth to maintain the reservoir's optimal ecosystem.

"This event teaches the youth out there collecting (litter) the importance of maintaining the pristine condition of the reservoir itself," said Mr Koh.

Mr Dan Wen, 14, a SCS beneficiary who took part in the cleanup, said: "I had a lot of fun during the kayaking and cleanup... I feel happy to not only enjoy myself during the event, but also helping the environment."