Volunteers Remove Over 100KG Of Trash In Underwater Clean-up Exercise In Conjunction with World Oceans Day

08 June 2018

Ropes, plastic and glass bottles, and a tyre were among the trash collected by volunteers in the waters near Raffles Lighthouse during an underwater clean-up exercise to mark World Oceans Day[1]. The event was organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to raise awareness on the importance of Singapore’s marine environment. 

2    A total of 20 volunteer divers successfully collected and sorted about 110kg of marine trash which was transported back to mainland for proper disposal. The data gathered on the types and sources of marine debris collected will be compiled under Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris® programme, a global survey of marine debris which contributes to understanding and tackling the sources of pollution.

3    The divers also self-organised a Marine Bioblitz based on a resource kit developed by the National Parks Board (NParks). During their second dive, they documented four categories of marine animals – molluscs, echinoderms, fishes and corals – through photographs. The photographs will be handed to the NParks and experts from Friends of Marine Park for species identification, contributing to NParks’ database on marine biodiversity.

4    Mr Jeremy Seaward, one of the divers who is a regular volunteer at MPA’s marine conservation programmes, said “Generally, the waters are quite clean. The trash that we found were mainly nylon ropes, glass bottles and fishing lines. We also saw some interesting marine life that we don’t usually see elsewhere in Singapore waters.”

5    The underwater clean-up complements MPA’s quarterly Clean-Up on Kayak, where volunteers help remove and sort trash floating in our waters. To encourage youths to play a part in protecting our marine environment, MPA will extend the initiative to them as part of a new quarterly outreach initiative, You’th Dive Against Debris.

6    Thanking the volunteers for their efforts and in raising awareness, Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA, said, “Marine pollution not only poses potential hazards to navigational safety but also affects the environment and marine life. Keeping our waters clean is a shared responsibility. We can show the world that Singapore can be both a busy port as well as a marine environment rich in biodiversity.”

7    To keep Singapore port waters clean and ensure navigation safety of vessels, MPA deploys garbage collection and flotsam retrieval craft to collect garbage from ships anchored in the port as well as flotsam and debris along the common channels, fairways and anchorages.

8    MPA works closely with other government agencies such as the National Environment Agency and NParks, as well as the maritime community to keep Singapore waters and beaches clean.

[1] The United Nation recognises World Oceans Day on 8 June to remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilise and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s ocean. 

Participating divers getting ready just before the dive near Raffles Lighthouse

Divers armed with baskets preparing to do their part in the underwater clean-up.

One of the volunteers with trash collected underwater.

Sorting some of the debris collected for data compilation under Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris® program to better understand and track sources of pollution.

A total of approximately 110kg of marine trash was collected in the underwater clean-up event in conjunction with World Oceans Day.

A species of flatworm identified during the dive for documentation on Singapore’s marine biodiversity. Photo credit: Jeemee Goh

A species of nudibranch identified during the dive for documentation on Singapore’s marine biodiversity. Photo credit: Laval Foo

A species of a seafan coral identified during the dive for documentation on Singapore’s marine biodiversity.Photo credit: Karan Teo