25 August 2013

Fish farms and trash at Pulau Ubin

A fridge and television sets were dumped on Pulau Ubin just opposite nearby fish farms.
As well as fish meal bags, fish cage nets and lots of other trash that probably came from nearby fish farms


At first, the stretch of shore we visited seems be regularly cleaned. There isn't a large build up of litter on the high shore. There were several people busy fishing on this shore.
Even on this 'cleaned' shore we came across many bags that clearly used to contain fish feed. From feed for groupers, eels, barramundi and sea bass. There were also many unlabelled bags.
There was a bag that was used for fertiliser and others with unidentified markings.
We also came across large bags that used to contain ice, sugar, rice.
Among the containers that washed up include this bottle of a coolant used in aircons. As well as large plastic bottles of detergent, insectide spray cans and more.
I even saw a coffee table that was tossed into the bushes on the high shore.
The fish farms are not very far from the shore. Here, with Pasir Ris Park beach and Pasir Ris housing estate on the horizon. Pasir Ris beach also has a big build up of litter.
Most are on platforms on floating blue drums. Many seem to contain a wide variety of equipment, containers, tarpulins, nets.
Further along, there were no fishermen and the shore appeared wilder and the trash build up thicker. There was a large jumble of timbers, tyres and drums here.
It appears to be a fish farm platform that has been abandoned on the shore and is starting to disintegrate into its component parts: timbers, tyres, blue drums, fish cage netting and more.
A closer look at the structure of the platform with blue drums tied to timbers.
We came across several TV sets on the shore. This is TV no. 1
TV no. 2 near several large tyres and timbers.
Is this also a TV? These probably didn't float over and were probably deliberately dumped on the shore. A likely way much of the larger trash also ended up here.
Further along the shore, there were a lot of tyres, blue drums and other large trash.
I look for labels on the blue drums to see find out what they used to contain. Most of them didn't have labels.
The only label I found was illegible.
There were also piles of thick nets used to form the fish farm cages, and shade nettings. There were of course the 'usual' kind of litter from irresponsible shore users as well as abandoned driftnets.
The tide isn't very low today. So I couldn't see the low water mark. It is here, like at Pasir Ris, where many plastic bags and other trash tend to linger.
It is not only rubbish that is dumped on Pulau Ubin. I heard that there are suspicions that the fish farms dump unwanted puppies and dogs on the island as well. This small pack of friendly young dogs that seem to be the same age were hanging about harmlessly at this shore. Andy and I said hello to them while they were having a nap in one of the shelters. But some visitors may not take kindly to the dogs. Sigh.
Before exploring the shore, we stopped by what appears to be a major trash point for Pulau Ubin. A  ricketty make-shift platform over the beach holds several green bins and bagged trash.
Nearby the trash point it seems there is an effort to recycle and separate some of the trash that can be reused. Including three small field chairs that fishermen often use.
Shortly, a cleaner came by with a load of neatly bagged trash. The cleaner was neatly dressed in a clean uniform and politely explained that trash is not collected daily. When there is enough trash, a boat comes by to collect the trash.
Later, we met the cleaner at work, cleaning up the frequently visited parts of Pulau Ubin.
As we were leaving, I took this shot of the trash point from the bumboat.
A closer look at the trash point.
On the way home, Pei Yan points out that every bumboat is required to put up this notice in the boat prohibiting the dumping of oil, sewage and garbage. Shouldn't this kind of common sense rule be applied to everyone who use our waters. Especially those businesses that rely on good water quality to provide fish that are sold as food to Singaporeans?
We noticed a fisherman laying down a driftnet near Changi Point.
The heartbreaking day was made less depressing by the delicious Ubin-only Sunday-only lontong served at Pak Ali's shop. Made even more enjoyable with good company (I wish I could, but no, I didn't eat four plates of lontong!)
  Here's an overview of the floating fish farms near Pulau Ubin and Pasir Ris Park.
 The shore we checked out today is the blue line.
Trash on our recreational beaches costs taxpayers $1.4m a year to clean up! Surely, it makes more sense to stop the trash from entering our waters in the first place?

2 comments:

  1. From post: "I look for labels on the blue drums to see find out what they used to contain. Most of them didn't have labels."

    These discarded blue drums (photo) all appear to be closed-head HDPE plastic barrels with 2 capped openings on the top.

    Such closed-head barrels are generally used to store fluids (eg. fuel, chemicals like disinfectants/ pesticides/ liquid fertilizers) that are dispensed by siphoning. Sealed empty barrels can be used as flotation devices.

    For storing solids like fishmeal, open-head barrels (with or w/o a lid) would be more convenient.

    Since S'pore has so many of such "pet" barrels discarded along the coast, perhaps the relevant authority could mandate that local users can only procure barrels tagged with tamper-proof industrial RFID tags that are registered with the purchaser's particulars. Such barrels should also be identified with durable & permanent adhesive labels indicating the contents & other pertinent details.

    Other than that, might a proper bin centre at the worst-littered coastal sites be useful in reducing the amount of indiscriminately-dumped industrial/ commercial trash ?

    On an ironic note, I see that the cleaner on Pulau Ubin appeared to have recycled a cut-up blue barrel as a portable trash-cart (pic1, pic2). I'm not sure though whether to be glad or sad -- does NEA/ NParks not provide its offshore cleaners with proper equipment ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Pat for this information and suggestions. Marine debris in general and trash from fish farms in particular are heart-breaking issues. It is slow hard work for one person to try to gather data and petition for change. But I shall try.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails