12 August 2013

Blue drums that batter Sentosa shores starting to disintegrate?

An update by Heng Pei Yan shows the blue drums on Sentosa are beginning to break, leaking a white plastic foam-like substance on the shore.
Photo by Heng Pei Yan.
She also observed a drastic change in the layout of the blue drums on the shore.

Pei Yan observed that the yellow bouy was now further inshore and no longer upright at low tide. This meant a drastic change in the layout of the blue drums on the intertidal reef flat.

Photo by Heng Pei Yan
The last time I visited this shore in June 2013 just two months ago, the bouy was upright in deeper waters
Photo taken during my trip here in June 2013
Pei Yan has done a thorough review of the situation on her blog, showing how the layout of blue drums have changed over time, including video clips of how the wake from passing ferries cause the drums to bash against the intertidal reef flat at low tide, and on the high shore, rocks battered by the blue drums and how a  shattered blue drum is leaking foam all over the shore.

I am wondering why the blue drums at Sentosa have to be laid out onto the intertidal reef flat, all the way to the rocky shore at the high water mark?

At Pasir Ris, there is a similar row of floating blue drums and they are laid out parallel to the shore in deeper water. Here, there are no blue drums lining up on the intertidal flats toward the high water mark. We can even see the line of blue drums at Pasir Ris on Google Earth.
Western end of the Pasir Ris blue drums.
Eastern end of the Pasir Ris blue drums
Can't we have the same layout at Sentosa? That is, remove the portion of the blue drums that lie on top of the intertidal reef flats and rocky shore. Just have the row floating in deeper water parallel to the shore, where they don't bash on marine life.

Hopefully, something can be done before the natural shores at Sentosa are damaged by the blue drums. Here's some views of the natural shore on Sentosa before the blue drums were laid out on it.
A4 Poster: Sentosa's natural shore

A4 Poster: Sentosa's original underwater world

More about Sentosa's Tanjung Rimau shore in this newspaper article.


  1. The below might be of interest:
    * Plastic Reefs (The Scientist - 17 Jul 2013)
    Plastic fragments are changing the ecology of the oceans by providing havens for bugs and bacteria

    Studies have found that on one hand, such plastic fragments increase the population of native marine/ mangrove insects like sea skaters (Halobates spp.) by serving as oviposition sites.

    However, the biofilm colonizing plastic debris is also disproportionately dominated by opportunistic pathogenic microbes like Vibrio bacteria, many species of which (eg. Vibrio cholerae) can infect fishes, shellfish & humans.

    The latter is a cause for concern. Besides plastic trash & similar litter along S'pore's coastline, I wonder if similar microbial pathogens also occur on supposedly-legitimate marine floaters like the plastic drums & their disintegrated components/ fragments at Sentosa, Pasir Ris, etc. ?

  2. Thanks for the information! An excellent question, Pat. Sounds like a good subject for a thorough scientific study.



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