GEMS (Singapore) Student Community Action – Changi Beach Cleanup

by Hassan Aly (Grade 3) and Zahra Aly (Grade 6)

Saturday 23rd September 2017, we went with our parents and little sister to Changi Beach to take part in a Beach Cleanup organised by International Coastal Cleanup Singapore (ICCS). The ICCS is the Singapore branch of an annual event conducted in 100 countries organises by The Ocean Conservancy.

The aim of the clean-up was to collect as much rubbish, as we could on Changi Beach. We are passionate about animal conservation and the environment so we were very glad to have an opportunity to help do something to help the environment and animals.

When we first heard about the beach cleanup we spoke to our school friends and tried to convince them to come along too. Hassan’s friend Ollie and his sister decided to come, which was great.

The most special thing was that Hassan’s class teacher Ms Smith also brought her family to support him. This was very special because she has to wake up early every weekday to come to school to teach and she gave up her weekend to come with her family and support a cause that Hassan cares about.

On Saturday morning, we reached the beach early in the morning. When we got there, we saw that loads of other families had also come to help.

The ICCS organisers gave everyone a pair of gloves, metal tongs, rubbish bag and a clipboard with a recording sheet so that we could collect the rubbish in a safe way and record the type of rubbish we collected. This information would be helpful in planning how to reduce littering.

We spent the morning, collecting items from the beach, the park and even the shore. We found lots of different things. The most unusual things found were a sandal, tire, tiles, metal rods and cloth. The most common things found were cigarette butts and pieces of Styrofoam. After every one finished all the bags were weighed.

A total of 135kg!! of carelessly thrown rubbish was collected. We felt really glad that together we had managed to collect so much that could have been harmful for sea life, other animals and humans.

The hardest thing to collect was a large fishing net and cloth which had managed to get buried into the shore with half of it still uncovered. It was really heavy and had lots of plastic bags, fishing lines, dead sea creatures and other rubbish trapped in it. There was also a lot of sand in it. This made it very heavy and hard to pull out. It was difficult but we managed it by not giving up. We kept pulling at it and then started breaking bits off and putting them in our bags. If we had left it as we found it, it would have killed loads of other animals by trapping them inside. We felt relieved that we were able to save some animals lives.

We went back home hot, tired, wet, sandy, sweaty but very happy!

At GEMS (Singapore) our Primary years students are encouraged to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate in the world around them.

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