Saturday, April 28, 2012

Earth Day Coastal Cleanup @ Tanah Merah


For those of us who visit and explore the shores of Singapore to document the marine life that can be found on our coasts, Tanah Merah stands out as a unique and special place. Although the original shore here is long gone due to land reclamation, a rich community of marine organisms has managed to colonise and reestablish itself. We find habitats as diverse as rocky shores, seagrass beds, sandy beaches, coastal forests, and even a coral reef on the outer edge of the seawall.

Oil-slicked Tanah Merah
(Photo by Ria)

Unfortunately, this shore, despite its beauty and diversity, suffers from pollution. Much of the marine life is slowly recovering from the devastation of the oil spill that struck 2 years ago, although some crude oil still lingers in the environment. Another insidious threat comes from the vast quantities of garbage that wash up and get trapped behind the seawall. Because this area is not under the purview of the armies of cleaners that work tirelessly every morning to remove litter and other trash from our public beaches, the rubbish simply accumulates, forming massive piles of plastic, broken glass, and other debris.

Oil-slicked Tanah Merah: Litter build up on the high shore
Litter on Tanah Merah shore, July 2011;
(Photo by Ria)

Oil-slicked Tanah Merah: Crude still beneath the sand
Dig deep enough, and you'll find out where much of the oil has gone, April 2012;
(Photo by Ria)

In response, the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS) team has decided to conduct a series of year-round cleanups on this shore.

And so, keen to do my part on a shore that I am personally very fond of, I signed up for the latest session, which was held on the morning of 28th April.

Friday, April 27, 2012

First time playing with Storify

Earlier this week, I attended the U@live session featuring Professor Leo Tan. As usual, I live-tweeted the event, and decided to use Storify as a medium to curate and organise my tweets. The result is this.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Watch your step! This creature is a jellyfish, not a plastic bottle

Watch your step! This creature is a jellyfish, not a plastic bottle

Red-eared rescue


If there's one thing I can't stand, it's seeing debris left behind by careless or irresponsible anglers. On too many occasions, I find rubbish that has been left on the shore after a fishing session, whether it's unused bait, discarded catch, lightsticks, or tangles of fishing line. I do wish that more anglers would take the effort to dispose of their trash properly, especially because of the risks of wildlife being harmed by hooks and fishing line.

There have been examples of local wildlife being needlessly injured or killed by fishing gear, from birds such as Oriental pied hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) and barn owl (Tyto alba), to reptiles like estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), dog-faced water snake (Cerberus rynchops), and Malayan water monitor (Varanus salvator). Even wild boar (Sus scrofa vittatus) have not been spared!

Today, I discovered yet another unfortunate victim of irresponsible anglers.