The Untamed Paths

Smash The Trash 2021 RECAP

On the 28th of February, we rallied intertidal and naturalist ‘alumni’ alike to join us, as we rolled up our sleeves for a beach clean-up cum mini-intertidal session. What better way to spend a Sunday evening doing a worthy cause!
Armed with tongs, gloves and an adventurous spirit, 30 odd members of the TUP community both young and old – cleared Pasir Ris Beach of 20 bag-loads of rubbish.
Pasir Ris Park Beach – popular with the public with its abundance of BBQ pits, is also home to a wide array of creatures and critters. The hidden mudflats and exposed seagrass meadows during low tide are a treasure trove for intertidal animals but there is a noticeable lack of shore explorers here compared to the other coasts on the North. You will soon find out why.
But fortune favours the explorers! We managed to find several interesting animals seldom seen on Changi Beach, such as Hairy Sea Hares chomping on seagrass, an adult plate-sized Haddon’s Carpet Anemone, plenty of Garlic Bread Sea Cucumbers and even a Semper Armina Nudibranch. These animals were vital in seeing our small effort across the line as we hustled, knowing that our efforts would go some way in ensuring the homes of these fragile creatures stay litter-free!
Trash frequently accumulates on this shoreline. Who is responsible you may ask? It is difficult to pinpoint an exact causation but we believe the trash originates from different sources; for example, park goers whose litter gets strewn around and picked up by the wind to the shore. Fish farms and kelongs may find it easier to dispose of trash by dumping them into the sea. Not forgetting Pulau Ubin and our neighbours Johor.
This beach clean-up was no walk in the park. Large pieces of trash were lodged further and deeper into the mudflats. The battle was against the element – both visible and invisible. The scorching evening sun was a deterrent for many but we pressed on!
Mudflats – The reason for the lack of shore explorers. As slippers were lost, egos broken and adults sinking knee-deep into the black silty sediment, laughter filled the air and we cheered each other on to extricate both slippers and ourselves.
Looking back at the shores – we were content that our efforts played a small part in removing a fraction of marine litter.
A great family-bonding activity and one that anyone can do. Everyone had loads of fun checking out the critters on the beach and we ended the day with a beautiful sunset. Tread carefully on the shores and be conscious of the impact when going about our daily lives. Till the next event!
– Cloud