Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives
Sat 24 Dec 2005
The Labrador cleanup
Category : Singapore Naturalist
Over a month ago, I was down at Labrador Beach to make a comment on some video clip. In the short time I was there, I spotted lots and lots of glass.
A good low tide was around the corner but I fell ill, had the Sg Buloh Anniversary Walk to think about and the Volunteer Fair booth to setup.
Thankfully the Raffles Museum Toddycats has Wai looking after Labrador and she decided to send out a simple email and tackle the beach with the volunteers who turned up. I joined them when my crab sampling finished earlier than normal, and I have to say the seven of us did a pretty good job - I posted a Habitatnews entry the same night before snoozing.
ICCS Data Manager Ladybug commented that the weight of the trash collected was particularly high per person; she meant to join us but sensibly returned home after the high-tide crab catching trip in the mangroves since she still had the flu and had been working late on the volunteer fair posters; turned out to be a good move since it was hard work.
The trash collected didn't seem like much initially but I was already happy we had cleared a significant amount of glass off the beach. When we started hauling out trash, I ralised it was more than we imagined. The canvas sacks were so heavy, I neeed help to heave them up on to my shoulders. Wai said regretfully that she could hardly move some of the sacks but I confessed it was my significant body weight that helped me bear that load!
Once i hauled the sacks on my shoulders, the beach felt very long! I just took it one step aty a time and was preparing myself for a long haul, but it turned out we finished quite quickly. I was perspiring profusely and with the high humidity of the evening, sweat was dripping out of my cap and on a few occasions, onto Wai!
I told her how I had started out the ICCS Mangrove Cleanups in Mandai mangroves in 1997 in a similar manner - s small group of 24 had cleared some of the massive amounts of trash in Mandai Kechil. Alvin and I later hauled out a back-breaking number of trash bags, as we had told the group we'd haul out the heavier bags! I am sure Alvin remembers that exercise well!
I introduced the concept of loaders in subsequent cleanups and recruited strong lads and lassies to concentrate on removing heavily laden bags.
Wai was enjoying the quiet and effective work and happily pointed out Lena, a volunteer who joined us on the spot. We will dig out our collection of labeled Labrador marine life photos for her as a reward since she was actually there to conduct a recce for a class trip next year. Hmm..I better schedule that in next week.
We walked out around 7.30pm and had a cuppa at the shops. Wai thankfully dug into some non-hostel cuisine as she was in the midst of her *choke* guitar camp. Like many others peasants, I was fascinated by the idea of a bunch of guitar players spending days together and snorted all the way back to NUS. For that she called me a plebian. Finally saw it, rats!
The following week, I dropped off the inappropriate rubber and cotton gloves that had been provided for us. We only use canvas gloves for cleanups and we have more than 100 in campus which we wash and dry after ICCS each year.
Well now that Wai is clued in, we'll probably tackle Labrador every quarter at least. It's heartening work. Meanwhile, Wai is surveying herr surroundings for beefy guys to help haul trash!