– United Nations
We have journeyed to the deep oceans to appreciate the importance of sustainable fishing and then proceed to make our way back to Singapore shores. However, the journey has not exactly been smooth-sailing.
It is not uncommon to find plastic trash choking up our precious oceans. Worldwide, about 19 billion pounds of plastic waste gets washed up in the oceans every year due to the indiscriminate dumping and mismanagement of waste (Mosbergen, 2017). On a smaller scale, the plastic bag that you have just littered could have made its way into the drain and down the canal before eventually reaching the sea.
The impacts that plastic has on the oceans are disturbing. Bigger animals such as dolphins drown when they get entangled with plastic waste. Sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish food and end up dying (wildsingapore, 2009). Furthermore, being non-biodegradable, plastic remains in the oceans for a long time and over time break down into smaller pieces, which get ingested by smaller animals and goes up the food chain (wildsingapore, 2009). Besides worrying about the sustainability of the fish that ends up on your dinner plate, it may do you good to search for microplastic hidden in the fish’s guts. Which is near impossible.
We finally landed on a Chek Jawa coast off Singapore to continue our learning journey… only to be greeted with unsightly trash.
Marine litter also often gets washed up on shores, and Singapore unfortunately is not immune to this problem. Once an idyllic landscape, the shore is now dotted with trash washed up during high tide. On 9 September, I went to Chek Jawa for a coastal clean-up project together with my fellow course mates and students from Bedok South Secondary. Trash vary in all shapes and sizes, from the ubiquitous plastic straw to an enormous vehicle tyre. For the record, we picked up 438kg of waste, with plastic unsurprisingly forming the bulk of the waste. This experience just serves to highlight the importance of reducing our marine trash, and how we can all play our part in keeping our environment truly clean and green. As I have mentioned before, together as one, we can make a positive difference to our environment. Never assume that the lone individual is powerless in making a change.
Here are some photos taken during the coastal clean-up project. Enjoy, and till next time!
Dominique Mosbergen (2017, May 12). The Oceans Are Drowning In Plastic, And No One’s Paying Attention. HuffPost. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/plastic-waste-oceans_us_58fed37be4b0c46f0781d426
Marine debris, Killer litter. (December 2009). Wildsingapore. Retrieved from http://www.wildsingapore.com/wildfacts/concepts/litter.htm
Credit of the photos taken goes to the NUS BES committee.