Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dharma Drum Youth Environmental Day 20/09/2008 @ East Coast Park

Our group of 22 gathered at East Coast Beach on the morning of 20 Sep 08 to participate in our very first beach-cleaning activity.

Before we started, KY gave us some basic knowledge of beach-cleaning and reminded us of the safety precaution to take. He also briefed us on the information provided by the Singapore Environment Council on the ill-effects to the environment brought by littering.

Next, Fion from Dharma Drum Youth gave an explanation on Dharma Drum Mountain's 4 Kinds of Environmentalism.
1. Protecting the Spiritual Environment
2. Protecting the Natural Environment
3. Protecting the Living Environment
4. Protecting the Social Environment
(For more information, please refer to Master Shengyen's book on the 4 Kinds of Environmentalism)

After the briefing, the beach-cleaning activity was officially started! Everyone put in their best efforts to pick up the litter. A few participants later came to realise that by squatting down, they were able to find and pick up many small rubbish items. Look, everyone is bending their backs and concentrating on picking litter. They are happy with what they have found!

After 1.5 hours, we ended our beach-cleaning activity and washed our hands. Then we took a break, interacted with one another and ate fruit and snacks.

We hope that today's activity will inspire everyone to continue practising environmentalism in your daily life. Let us do our part for mother earth and preserve a pure land for our posterity. Let us cherish and love nature and strive towards the purification of our own spiritual environment!

Data from Singapore Environment Council

Guide to a successful coastal cleanup

Points to let the participants know before the cleanup

· We hope at the end of 1 hour of bending down and picking up SOMEONE else rubbish...we can think twice the next time we buy something (buy only watever it is neccessary, not because it's on sales or cheap) or throw away something (whether it can be reuse/recycled?)

· Highlight to them that all our domestic refuse in Singapore is currently incinerated and transported to a $ 600 million man-made(reclaimed) island called Pulau Semakau; there are no more landfills left in mainland Singapore; and the lifespan of pulau Semakau is only about 40 yrs...This island is almost the SIZE of SENTOSA! (350 hect)

· Reinforce the 3Rs again to them (Reduce 1st, 2nd Reuse and last of all, recycle); most people always think recycle is first and stats have shown in the west that all forms of recycling requires more energy, electricity, water or chemicals to recycle them

· Singapore is Clean and Green only because our govt spends billions of dollars and many manpower hours on keeping it clean and green; the minds of most singaporeans are not clean and green....Our Rubbish generated since 1970 has increase 7 times while our population only increased 2.5 times.

· The cost of our landfill at Semakau and the 4 incinarators costs most than S$1billion already...and i leave it for you guys to figure out how much Nparks and our town councils spend a year on our cleaning, maintainance of gardens, roadside trees and plants)

· Our "wasteful, throwaway and one-time usage" mentality has to end; and by doing a coastal cleanup..maybe it would affect some, if not all the participants.
(all stats and figures taken from MEWR and NEA websites; SEC do not invent these figures; 90% of singaporeans are not aware of these facts!)

Things to bring

· Trash bags (3-4 medium size supermarket plastic bags we usually have heaps at home )
· Drinking water
· caps/hats/umbrellas/sun block
· wear light clothing
· First Aid kit
· camera (optional)
· CD/Radio (optional)
we discourage participants to buy disposable gloves cos most of the rubbish are dry; and there are toilets nearby to wash their hands after the cleanup. But if you have to buy; you can reduce waste by only catering 1 pair of gloves for 2 participants....as we only need 1 hand to pick up the rubbish..not 2 hands.

PLEASE DO NOT BUY metal tongs and use it for one time and after that throw it the bins!

Ground Rules for Beach Cleanup

· Only pick up man-made stuff (ie plastic, styrofoams, cigarette butts, straws, food wrappers and containers)

· Do not pick up stuff produced by Mother Nature (eg dried leaves, dried branches, sand, stones, even charcoal, corals and shells)

· Foot wear must be worn at all times at the beach

· Do not go near to the waterline, most of the rubbish are all found washed up above the tide line)

· Be careful when handling broken glass, sharp objects aerosol cans, syringes and container that may contain chemical or chemical residue. When in doubt – DON'T PICK IT UP!

· Get help when picking up heavy stuff

· Look out for any potantial bee/hornet hives nearby

Picnic after the cleanup

You might wan to have some refreshments after the cleanup and you might even wan to do a short reflection during the pinick. bring along a CD/radio and playing it during the cleanup might motivate the participants more. Allow time at the end of the day for participants to relax, socialize, and enjoy the fruits of their labour.
pls see appendix below

"Never Believe that a few Caring People cannot Change the World. For indeed, that's all who ever have."- Margaret Mead

It's great that you are already green/environmentally aware, but isn't it better to affect those you know to follow suit?

We are not asking everybody to go around hugging trees, but simply to lead a more environmentally MINDFUL lifestyle...

We have moved and are located at the NUS law faculty at bt timah campus (former SMU campus). location map http://www.sec.org.sg/contact_htm/contact.htm


The SEC is a non-government, non-profit environmental organisation, as well as a registered charity and Institution of Public Character. Help support SEC's work to protect, preserve and conserve our fragile Earth today. Make a donation at www.sec.org.sg/support. Thank you.

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.


Time it takes for debris to decompose in the environment:

Glass bottle 1 million years

Monofilament fishing line 600 years

Plastic beverage bottles 450 years

Disposable diapers 450 years

Aluminum can 80-200 years

Foamed plastic buoy 80 years

Rubber boot sole 50-80 years

Foamed plastic cup 50 years

Tin can 50 years

Leather 50 years

Nylon fabric 30-40 years

Plastic film canister 20-30 years

Plastic bag 10-20 years

Cigarette filter 1-5 years

Wool sock 1-5 years

Plywood 1-3 years

Waxed milk carton 3 months

Apple core 2 months

Newspaper 6 weeks

Orange or banana peel 2-5 weeks

Paper towel 2-4 weeks



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