debris: Killer litter
is there so much litter on the shore? Where does all this
litter comes from? When we DON'T throw litter into a proper bin, it
falls to the ground, goes into the drain, flushes into the canal,
then into the sea. Most of the litter on our shores comes from landbased
activities in Singapore and not necessarily from ships or boats or
Why is the litter arranged in a line on the
shore? Litter that floats comes in with the tide and is
deposited on the high water mark. There is usually so much litter
in the water, especially near shores frequented by people, that every
tide brings in a new load of trash. Heavier trash that does not float
were probably dumped on the shore or nearby.
Killer Litter! Litter in the sea isn't just unsightly.
Litter kills marine life.
- Of all the
litter in the ocean, plastic litter is the most lethal. And plastic
makes up nearly 90% of marine litter.
- Small animals
are smothered in plastic bags.
- Sea turtles
often eat floating plastic bags, mistaking them for jellyfishes
which are among their food. Sea birds and even whales die from
eating plastic bags.
fishing nets kill by trapping animals. Marine animals that get
entangled die a slow death. Air-breathing animals such as dugongs,
dolphins and sea turtles drown if they are trapped in nets. Sea
birds that fish in the ocean may also get entangled and die.
don't biodegrade. But they do break up into smaller and smaller
pieces. These tiny pieces of microplastic are eventually eaten by small sea creatures
and thus enter the food chain. Eventually on our plate through seafood. Fish meal is also fed to livestock such as pigs and cows.
everywhere: Plastic floats. In the ocean currents, plastic
trash literally travels the world.
forever: Plastic litter lasts, and lasts, and lasts...
"So ubiquitous and inexpensive are plastics that we've become
a single-use, throwaway society. Synthetic plastics do not biodegrade.
At best, they break and break again into smaller and smaller pieces.
The fact remains that, save those incinerated, every single molecule
of synthetic plastic ever created is still on this planet and probably
will be for centuries".
the cycle of plastics in the ocean by Andrew Myers Ocean
Conservancy Magazine Autumn 2007
How much plastic is in the ocean?
"Findings by Dr Richard Thompson at the University of Plymouth
estimate there are 300,000 items of plastic per sq km of sea surface,
and 100,000 per sq km of seabed. So plastic appears to be everywhere
in our seas."
'poisoning world's seas' By Maggie Ayre Producer BBC 7 Dec
Aren't Singapore's beaches clean?
"On beaches across Singapore where the public has access, the
NEA has about 40 cleaners removing rubbish before most beach-goers
arrive. On the popular 11-km stretch of East Coast Park, about 15
of them sweep, pick up and toss out trash on any given day, starting
from 7am. The volunteers (from International Coastal Cleanup Singapore)
took over their job on Saturday and collected 16,819 items weighing
2,600kg at East Coast Park alone - the highest amount of trash collected
on any beach open to the public." from The
coast is not clear by Shobana Kesava Straits Times 20 Sep
Where does the trash come from?
Daily door-to-door trash collection is provided by the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) to all ships parked in port. MPA also has several boats dedicated to removing trash from the port waters. MPA issues public data on the trash collected through the services they provide.
However, no door-to-door trash collection is provided to any of the coastal fish farms licenced by Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) (119 as at Aug 2013). By providing this service, possibly 250 tonnes of trash (or more) will no longer be dumped into our waters every year as outlined in this letter sent to REACH. Despite a meeting with AVA in Mar 2014, to date, daily door-to-door trash collection is still not provided to coastal fish farms licenced by AVA
You CAN make a difference
- Throw all
your rubbish in a proper bin.
- Try to reduce
the use of these things that you only use once or eventually throw
away: plastics, styrofoam, plastic bags.
- Don't use
balloons at parties, especially avoid helium balloons and release
of such balloons, particularly near the shores.
- Clean up
carefully when having an event near the shores.
- Join International
Coastal Cleanup Singapore. It's NOT just about removing rubbish.
It is about collecting data about marine debris. The data is compiled
worldwide and used to raise awareness and encourage change in
consumer habits and government policy.