On the 19th of October, 36 students and 5 teachers from our college went to the Chek Jawa Wetlands for a VIA project. This effort is part of the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) initiative and aims to clear up rubbish polluting our coastal areas. After 2 hours of cleaning a stretch of mangrove area, our students collected 1106 items of rubbish in 20 bags, amounting to 300kg!
The students first took a ferry from Changi Fairy Point Terminal, before boarding one of the local taxis on Pulau Ubin. Chek Jawa is a densely forested area echoing the calls of various wildlife inhabiting the place. After walking through the forested area, the students finally reached the beach. They wore their gloves and started working on clearing the rubbish. The beach had a massive sheet of seaweed that had bits and pieces of plastic and other litter hidden within. Hanging from the trees were remnants of rice sack bags and discarded ropes from ships. Half buried in the sand were wooden planks, plastic cups, oil barrels and even a washing machine drum. Some students worked on removing the litter from the trees, while some focused on digging out bigger pieces of litter such as a rubber tyre. But perhaps, the most interesting piece of litter was in fact a chair. The students recorded each item of rubbish collected and the data will be sent to ICCS for compilation and processing. Items of concern included plastic pieces, foam and plastic bags.
After the beach cleaning, the students went on a guided tour along the boardwalk. They observed the diverse ecosystem that Chek Jawa offers. Various species and their habitats were seen, some including the horseshoe crab.
It was truly an enriching and eye opening experience that taught everyone the importance of preserving the cleanliness of Chek Jawa. Our actions out of convenience can bring about undesirable impact. Everyone who went on this VIA experience agreed that we have to play a bigger part in conserving the environment.