ICCS (Sept’16): The power of ONE

7.30 a.m.

Few would have been awake to hear the rumbling of the bus leaving NUS.

The 15-minute journey took a group of 30 BES students to Pandan Mangroves, a small wetland sanctuary in South-Western Singapore. A sanctuary choked full of trash.


All it takes is for one person to believe that the damage is salvageable, and that he or she has the power to make a difference. Old shirts, pants, gloves, booties – our outfit hardly matches up to that of the stereotypical comicbook hero. Then again, this is hardly a stereotypical battle we’re fighting – no heroes fight in such suffocatingly foul and humid air.

Nonetheless, with the amazing power of our two human hands, in the precious hour before the seas flood our battlefield, we collected an average of 4kg of trash each.

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Every superhero needs a sidekick. This time, our unorthodox sidekicks, armed with clipboards and pencils, dutifully recorded the types and amount of trash collected. This allowed us to study the villains better, so that we may one day be able to launch a decisive counter-attack against them. Styrofoam scraps, bottles, a gas cylinder? Seems like they like to trap animals.

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In total, we retrieved 119kg of trash (excluding the gas cylinder), returning the plot of wetland a little more pristine than before. Saving the environment – just like saving damsels in distress – requires us to be on 24/7 alert. Even as we went on our separate ways after resolving this crisis, we walk away knowing that if Mother Nature is under attack by villains again, we won’t be the only one rushing back to save the day.

Every one of us can be a hero. No cape? Can’t fly?

Fret not.

An old T-shirt, sweatpants, gloves and booties are all you need to save the day.
An old T-shirt, sweatpants, gloves and booties are all you need to save the day.

* PS: Post-battle analysis showed that the most abundant villains are: plastic pieces (678), foam pieces (528) and straws (375). Surprising finds include a vehicle tyre and a giant hydraulic tank. Now the question is, how do we prevent them from coming back again?

Publicity, 5th BES Student Comm

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