Hidden rubbish made beach look clean
Volunteers clear 76kg of rubbish on Pasir Ris beach
Stepping on the white, seemingly pristine, sands of Pasir Ris beach on June 30, one would not expect the Trash Hero clean-up volunteers to come away with 76kg of rubbish.
But hidden beneath the plants and along the coastline were cigarette butts and plastic or foam pieces.
Trash Hero Singapore was started by Ms Stella Cochrane, 31, a marketing executive, and Ms Yanmei Yang, 33, a sales operator.
During a trip to the Philippines in May last year, Ms Cochrane was shocked by the amount of food wrappers and plastic bottles washed up on the beach. It inspired her to set up Trash Hero Singapore last July.
She said: "On seeing the scale of the problem, I decided to do something meaningful about it back in Singapore. A friend had told me about Trash Hero after she joined a clean-up in Thailand in 2013."
Ms Cochrane contacted Trash Hero World to start a chapter here. Now, they usually have events twice a month with manyvolunteers.
The event on June 30 saw the largest number of volunteers. The 86 participants covered 1.3km of the Pasir Ris shoreline.
Ms Cochrane said: "The more popular beaches are regularly cleaned by the National Environment Agency (NEA). But there are other less accessible beaches, like Coney Island.
"With the tide, the trash accumulates, and it becomes more and more dangerous for marine life."
The largest amount of rubbish collected by Trash Hero Singapore was at Coney Island on May 6 when 35 volunteers picked up a whopping 453kg.
One of the most dangerous materials threatening our environment today is plastic.
A worldwide movement to reduce its usage started after world-renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough's 2017 Blue Planet II series urged consumers to stop using plastic bottles.
In April, British Prime Minister Theresa May banned the sale of single-use products like plastic straws, drink-stirrers and cotton buds. She has pledged to eradicate avoidable plastic waste by 2042.
National Geographic magazine's June issue reported that plastic production took off only around 1950, producing 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic to date.
Of this, more than 6.9 billion tons have become waste.
Marine species, from zooplankton to whales, now eat microplastics, the bits smaller than one-fifth of an inch across, causing asphyxiation and death.
First-time volunteer and primary one pupil Chang Yi Xuan Giselle, seven, who was at the beach clean-up, saw whales during the holidays in Australia.
She said: "I learnt trash can travel in the water and I wanted to clean the beach to save the whales."
Here's what they found:
76 kilograms of trash collected
237 cigarette butts
235 plastic pieces
116 small plastic bags
75 foam pieces
52 takeout boxes