A cleanup at the beach yields some shocking results
We have come a long way from ditzy dance-pop tunes. One might be tempted to laugh while pulling out a plastic Ken doll from the sand, but when faced with the cold hard fact that the amount of plastic trash in our ecosystem is increasing at an alarming rate, one quickly realises that it is no laughing matter.
The situation is critical. If we do nothing, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.
To do our part in averting this disastrous situation, CapitaLand, together with Trash Heroes Singapore organised a beach cleanup to keep our beaches and waterways clean. On the morning of 22nd March 2019, 29 CapitaLand staff volunteers and 10 kids headed for Coney Island.
Armed with protective gloves, metal tongs, metal sieves and trash bags, our volunteers got busy under the blistering sun. With Singapore’s reputation as a clean and green city, our volunteers were shocked to discover the amount of trash along the beach. Over a 50-metre stretch along the beach, our plucky volunteers managed to pick up over 110kg worth of trash in an hour.
CapitaLand volunteer, Mr Tony Lee, Vice-President, Group Business Solutions & Systems said: “The high density of plastic waste found or uncovered per square metre took me by surprise. Not only was it visible at the top soil but it goes several layers deep under! We owe a ton to the many cleaning professionals hired to keep Singapore clean.”
Single-use plastic made up the bulk of the trash collected. The volunteers also unearthed some truly puzzling items.
These include a motorcycle helmet, sepak takraw (rattan ball), a football, 1.5-metre plastic drum barrels and even a lid off a washing machine.
An unsolvable police case for an amateur detective or a Man Booker prize-winning story for a novellist?– you decide.
While the adults got busy, the little ones weren’t slacking off either. The beach was littered with microplastics and styrofoam bits. Here, the metal sieves came in handy as our kid volunteers ‘fished’ out bits of plastic from the water. Picking up every single piece from the beach would prove to be (almost) impossible.
One of our junior volunteers, Ms Sylvia Soh, 7 years old, said: “The styrofoam was everywhere and it could be mistaken as food by sea animals. We need to throw our rubbish in the waste bin and not litter to protect the sea animals.”
But fret not! There is still hope.
2019 has been designated as Singapore’s Year Towards Zero Waste. Most recently, the European Union lawmakers have also legislated a ban on single-use plastic in the EU by 2021. Global movements and educational campaigns held by non-government organisations (NGO) like the World Wide Fund for Nature's (WWF) Earth Hour are also encouraging the community to reduce their trash and be kinder to the environment.
The adage “Reduce, Reuse & Recycle” is once again in vogue. More than just alliterative wordplay, there is a reason why ‘reduce’ is placed first. It is the first step towards a greener planet. If we have ‘reduced’ in the first place, there will be no need to reuse or even recycle. In recent years, two new ‘R's have been added. It is now ‘Refuse, Reduce, Repurpose, Reuse and Recycle.” Say ‘No’ and make a impact with your decision as a consumer!
After spending a morning picking up trash, our volunteers have definitely received the message.
Staff volunteer Ms Cindy Tiah, Senior Executive, Group Technology said: “Everyone’s effort really makes a difference in keeping our environment clean and livable for all. More attention is needed in keeping our environment free from trash. Such cleanup activities definitely motivate me to do more. In the future, I will use less plastics bags and bring recyclable bags when I do my grocery shopping and refuse the use of facial & skincare products with plastic microbeads in them.”
Everyone has the capacity to do something. No time to volunteer? Simple changes like using a reusable bottle, cup, straw or container will go a long way towards making a difference. Before you make that purchase, consider the following:
· Do I need it?
· How long will I use my purchase?
· Can I reject any single-use plastic? Do I really need this plastic bag, lid or straw?
· Do I know how the item will be disposed of after I am done using it?
· Can I reuse the packaging or the item after I am done with it?
· Is there an alternative I can choose to lessen my environmental impact?
· Is this item recyclable?
A cynic might ask, ‘What is one more plastic bottle?’
Well, now imagine 5 million people in Singapore asking the same question.
The power is yours!
Want to do your part for the environment? Join Trash Heroes Singapore in their next cleanup.
Trash Talk - An Interview with Trash Heroes Singapore
INSIDE digs through the trash with Stella Cochrane, 32, co-founder of Trash Heroes Singapore to find out some interesting facts about the things we throw away.
INSIDE: What is the most common type of trash you see in Singapore? Stella: Single-use plastic are common. That’s food wrappers, plastic bags, take away containers, straws, plastic cups and bottles. However, the number one item is the cigarette butt. Most people don’t realise that the cigarette butt is made of cellulose acetate, which is a plastic polymer mixed with paper and takes around 15 years to degrade.
INSIDE: What is the most unusual thing Trash Heroes Singapore has picked up? Stella: We found what looked like a whole deer leg once. We have also picked up a machete before. On one of the more interesting encounters, we found a bag of clothes including some underpants in a mangrove. This turned out to be a fisherman’s change of clothes. When he came back for them later, he wasn’t too pleased that we tidied them up.
INSIDE: From all your cleanup activities in Singapore, where is the cleanest/dirtiest? Why? Stella: With an army of nearly 70,000 street and beach cleaners employed to keep our trash out of sight, it stays out of our minds and most people think of Singapore as a clean city. The cleanest areas of the country are ones frequented by tourists and the masses, places like the Central Business District, city hubs and the recreational beaches. While the dirtiest are areas that don’t get visited by the public or cleaners and trash is left to accumulate. These are areas such as coastal mangroves, state land beaches and remote locations.
We need to take responsibility for our waste and reduce our consumption of single use items. When it comes to recycling, it is essential we wash items that can be recycled before putting them in the recycling bin as it might cause contamination.
The CapitaLand Earth Hour 2019 Quiz! - Take part and win up to 900 STAR$®!
Calling all CapitaStar members! From now till 31 March 2019, learn how you can do your part for the environment. Take part in all three quizzes and stand a chance to win up to 900 STAR$®. There is a new quiz every Friday (15, 22 and 29 March 2019) so don't miss out!
Limited redemptions available so fastest fingers first! Good Luck!
This week, we're focusing on reducing plastic waste! Find the correct answer in the article and generate the reward code for 300 STAR$®!
[THIS WEEK'S QUIZ HAS BEEN FULLY REDEEMED!]
Question: If we do nothing, by which year will there be more plastic in the ocean than fish?
Answer: STOP<YOUR ANSWER>
For example, if your answer is year 2020, key in the reward code 'STOP2020' in the CapitaStar app.
P.S. - If you're not sure how to use your reward code, see our handy guide below!
Got the correct answer? It is time to redeem your STAR$®! Here's a quick guide:
Step 1: Launch your CapitaStar App. If you are not a CapitaStar member, sign up to take part and redeem great deals at our CapitaLand malls!
Tap on the 'Menu' icon at the top left hand corner of the app
You'll see the reward code tab on the left hand side. Select 'Reward code'
Step 4: You will arrive at the following page for you to enter your reward code
Enter your reward code
If your answer is correct, you will receive the following message.
Enjoy your STAR$®
to redeem the latest merchant deals or exchange them for eCapitaVouchers or physical CapitaVouchers
If your answer is correct, the message "XXX" will appear.
If your answer is correct, the message "XXX" will appear.
If your answer is incorrect, or if the STAR$®
have been fully redeemed, you will receive the following error message.
Read the article to look for the correct answer or join the quiz next week for another chance!
There is a new quiz every Friday on the 15, 22, and 29 March 2019!
If the answer is incorrect, or if the reward code has been fully redeemed, of if you have already redeemed the code before, an error message "Code is invalid. Think this is a mistake? Contact us" will appear.
Read the article again to find the correct answer!
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