25 March 2015

Palm oil waste and other damaging activities at Pasir Ris

The shore was lined with palm oil waste that float in the water from tiny globules to marble-sized and pebble-sized blobs, to chunks larger than my foot.
There is also a great deal of trash on the shore, much of it likely to come from the fish farms just off the shore.

There is also a line of palm oil waste along the low water mark.
A closer look at the palm oil waste.
The palm oil waste appears to coat dead floating leaves and not living seagrasses growing on the bottom of the sea.

What is palm oil waste?
From the Sustainable Palm Oil Platform
The most environmentally damaging by-product of the milling process is palm oil mill effluent (POME), which is a hot, acidic effluent that contains oil, plant debris, and nutrients.

What are the environmental impacts of POME? POME has high acidity, temperature, biological oxygen demand (BOD), and chemical oxygen demand (COD). When it is discharged into waterways it can contaminate drinking water for human and animal communities. It can be particularly harmful to aquatic communities by creating highly acidic environments or causing eutrophication (where excessive algal growth occurs on the surface of the water).
Marine debris

At Pasir Ris Park, like all our recreational seashore parks, an army of cleaners remove all the debris that wash up every day.
It is mid-morning and there is so much trash to clear up that the cleaners haven't reached this part yet.
On the highest tide line, lots of floating litter like plastic bottles and styrofoam.
At the low-water mark, a line of plastic trash accumulates.
I arranged these packets that I could reach within arms length. They comprise mainly Malaysian brands of instant noodle packets. There were also many packets from biscuits, bread and other carbohydrates.
I have heard that some fish farmers feed their fishes with expired carbohydrates such as biscuits, bread, instant noodles.
In fact, one fish farmer told the Straits Times that he feeds his fish with 'bread and instant noodles'.
I have also heard that fish farmers buy expired carbohydrates from Malaysia too, to feed their fishes. More about what our fish farms are fed.
I also saw one bag of cat food, and one bag of dog food.
I saw two large bags that used to contain fish food.
Does the trash come from beachgoers? There are humungous bins provided next to every BBQ point.
Does the trash come from Malaysia? Between Pasir Ris and Malaysia is the long island of Pulau Ubin. And between Pulau Ubin and Pasir Ris are 60 coastal fish farms. They are not provided with daily door-to-door trash collection, a service provided to every household, business and ship parked in port.
Trash on our recreational beaches costs taxpayers $1.4m a year to clean up! Wouldn't it make more sense to prevent as much trash from being tossed into the sea in the first place? By providing fish farms with a reasonable and practical way to dispose of their trash responsibly.

Other activities that affect water quality

Large ships regularly pass through this East Johor Strait, probably travelling to or from Sembawang shipyards in Singapore, or Pasir Gudang Port in Johor.
Just off the seagrass meadows of Pasir Ris Park is a shipyard located at Loyang. There are also other heavy industries at Loyang.
Among the industries located near Lorong Halus is this massive work site. I'm not sure what is being produced or done here.
More activities in the area: On the horizon, the Serangoon Reservoir sluice gates. A large crane and excavators, probably at the construction site next to the Lorong Halus Jetty.
In front of the floating fish farm, someone appears to be tending to a fishing net.
This kayaker appears to be working on a fishing net. Behind, a floating fish farm, and behind that, Pasir Gudang Port in Johor.
On the sandflats and seagrass meadows of Pasir Ris, someone is using a hoe to dig up the ground, probably looking for worms. In front of him, a net has been set up on the shore.
These are just a few of the great many activities going on in Singapore that can affect the marine ecosystems in the East Johor Strait.
click on image for larger view.
There are lush seagrass meadows and mangroves at Pasir Ris. Here's more of what I saw there today.
The mangroves and seagrass meadows at Pasir Ris are critical in helping to maintain good water quality. Good water quality is good for marine life, good for fish farms and good for people.

Related posts


Related Posts with Thumbnails