Singapore launches nationwide strategy to combat marine litter problem on beaches, coastlines

6/6/2022 5:15:00 AM

Singapore launches nationwide strategy to combat marine litter problem on beaches, coastlines

Singapore, Beach Cleanup

Singapore launches nationwide strategy to combat marine litter problem on beaches, coastlines

SINGAPORE, June 6 — With thousands of tons of marine litter being collected from the country’s shorelines every year, a new nationwide plan was announced on Sunday (June 5) to...

The National Action Strategy on Marine Litter, launched by the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE), will focus on six key areas such as reducing land-based and sea-based sources of litter.Among the items they collected — over the course of an hour in the scorching sun — were numerous plastic bottles, straws, fishing ropes, a styrofoam box and even a huge blue plastic barrel that had to be emptied of sand before it could be carted away.

He described it as “quite a complex issue” because marine litter can “come from anywhere” depending on the monsoon season, wind direction and tidal waves.In 2020 alone, more than half of the 1,300 tons of flotsam collected from East Coast Park was picked up during the Southwest monsoon season, which typically lasts from May to September.

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Monday, 06 Jun 2022 9:18 AM MYT SINGAPORE, June 6 — With thousands of tons of marine litter being collected from the country’s shorelines every year, a new nationwide plan was announced on Sunday (June 5) to tackle the growing problem. The National Action Strategy on Marine Litter, launched by the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE), will focus on six key areas such as reducing land-based and sea-based sources of litter. China’s rigid Covid Zero strategy has brought the recent outbreaks in megacities like Shanghai and Beijing under control -- although in the case of Shanghai that involved a punishing two-month lockdown -- and authorities have warned that the risk of a resurgence remains. For the first time, it will also consolidate the individual efforts of several government ministries and agencies such as the National Environment Agency (NEA), Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, and national water agency PUB. Chadchart said his environmental policies are designed to help Thailand meet its target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. On Sunday, Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, joined about 30 volunteers from ground-up community organisations for a beach clean-up at Tanah Merah Beach. Residents are allowed to move about freely as long as they have a negative Covid test result within the prior 72 hours. Among the items they collected — over the course of an hour in the scorching sun — were numerous plastic bottles, straws, fishing ropes, a styrofoam box and even a huge blue plastic barrel that had to be emptied of sand before it could be carted away. The Klang Valley has been hit with severe weather a number of times this year with Kuala Lumpur experiencing flash floods over a half-dozen times so far.

Tan told reporters that marine trash remains a problem for the whole world but especially for island states like Singapore, which is surrounded by the sea. Schools will reopen gradually, with middle schools and elementary schools resuming in-person classes from June 13, and kindergartens from June 20, according to the statement. After failing to collect much trash, another participant told the governor that there had been plenty of garbage floating in the river yesterday. “It’s important for biodiversity, for our living habitat.. - Bloomberg Article type: free.. All this will affect not just our beaches, but it also affects our living environment,” he said.

He described it as “quite a complex issue” because marine litter can “come from anywhere” depending on the monsoon season, wind direction and tidal waves. Globally, about 80 per cent of marine litter comes from land sources such as landfills, discharge from stormwater drains, and littering of beaches and coastal areas. Some debris from neighbouring countries or even ships also washes up on Singapore's shores. Newly released statistics showed that from 2019 to last year, the NEA collected between 3,640 and 4,000 tons of flotsam — or floating debris — annually from 10 beaches and coastlines across the island. In 2020 alone, more than half of the 1,300 tons of flotsam collected from East Coast Park was picked up during the Southwest monsoon season, which typically lasts from May to September.

Aside from clean-up efforts by government agencies, an army of volunteers from various groups go around Singapore every week to pick up marine litter. Sunday’s clean-up was organised by social enterprises Stridy and Seastainable in conjunction with World Environment Day, which fell on Sunday. Stridy’s community and programmes lead, Yasser Amin, said that they have collected up to 800kg of rubbish from more secluded areas like Tanah Merah Beach, where cleaners do not usually go to. He estimated Sunday’s haul to be around 150kg, or about 30 bags. In August 2020 when Covid-19 curbs were gradually easing, he also joined the East Coast Beach Plan initiative started by another young Singaporean, Samantha Thian.

While cleaning up beaches, the most common type of marine litter Yasser has encountered are bits of white styrofoam. These come from styrofoam items that are broken down in the ocean currents and wash back up on the shores. Unusual items include furniture, fridges and huge tyres, which the 26-year-old said likely come from ships, coastal communities or even nearby countries. “A lot of the time, it’s local littering,” he added. “It gets more frustrating because that’s what we are focusing on and it’s things that can be controlled, but it’s still an issue that happens on our island.

" Nevertheless, the part-time student said he was encouraged by the new national strategy. He had participated in two dialogue sessions held by MSE in September last year and April this year with ground-up organisations, academics, representatives from institutes of higher learning and members of the public. Yasser added: “Definitely with such a national effort, we want to see more regional efforts. As much as beach clean-ups are good, they’re far from being the solution. We need to stop the source of plastics pollution from entering the ocean in the first place.

” Minister of State Tan also said it was important for Singapore to work with regional countries and internationally in order to “adopt best practices” and share information and data to tackle the marine litter issue. The six areas that the National Action Strategy on Marine Litter will focus on are: • Reduction of land-based sources of litter • Reduction of sea-based sources of litter • Circular economy approach (e.g. reduce use of disposables) • Research and development • Maintaining and strengthening outreach and stakeholder engagement • International engagement and collaboration Tan said that everyone can play a part in combating the problem of marine litter, and that the Government will try to encourage more ground-up activities like Sunday’s beach clean-up. “I think this is a continuous effort and we need everybody to, first of all, be responsible consumers in order to prevent and minimise the use of disposables, to recycle often and recycle right, and also to bin our litter properly,” he added.

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