Watching as All Clear Sift Garbage from a Singapore Waterway

The Janiqueel team visits Marina South Pier to Watch as a corner of it is cleared of trash. Garbage out; Clear Water in.

Many of us ask what can I, as one person, do, but history shows us that everything good and bad starts because somebody does something or does not do something.

Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer

For over twenty years, Tian San Shipping (TSS) has been helping to keep the waters around Singapore free of Ocean Cleanup vessel. It’s a daunting task given the fact that Singapore is a mega-port where giant ships come and go 24/7 and a population of 6 million uses the shores to recreate and work. One would expect that there would be some garbage generated from all that activity, and – oh my goodness! – there is. A good deal of that trash is plastic. Quickly becoming the scourge of the seas, plastic is a global problem. Unfortunately, it is also a local problem. 60% of the seas’ plastic pollution originates in South East Asia. All Clear aims to do something about that.

At All Clear, our mission is to accelerate action against marine plastic pollution on a global scale.

Prodding individuals and communities to offset their plastic footprints, the ALL CLEAR PLASTIC NEUTRAL SCHEME is working with vulnerable communities to set up micro recycling enterprises to help stem the tide of plastic waste. A huge part of this effort is the education of local people in the harms of waste and the possibility of do-able alternatives to simply tossing garbage in local waterways. “By providing them with the capability to turn their plastic waste into something useful for them, plastic waste gets a chance at a second life and increases the likelihood of sustainably changing behaviours.” 

To see first-hand how ALL CLEAR accomplishes its mission, the Janiqueel team visited Marina South Pier last week. As if to imitate the ALL CLEAR message, the rainy skies cleared to welcome our kind hosts, Audrey Loo and Annelieke Dompeling. As they energetically told of their work with TSS, we watched as medium-sized Ocean Cleanup vessel went about its job of corraling floating grunge with a hand-held rake then herding it into a large scoop mounted on the front of the FR. Following a signal by the raker, the wire-grid scoop lifts its cargo of floating detritus and deposits it into a large fenced-in bin on deck. Worth noting, this process is achieved by just two highly skilled workers. In a show of balance worthy of a tight-rope walker, the raker shifts from point to point on the barge’s bow sweeping debris into a manageable ‘pile’. The ship’s captain has adroitly shifted the craft to and fro facilitating pick-up and retrieval.

When we arrived the junk ebbed and flowed against the pier pillars. With the cleaning accomplished, the waters were, well…CLEAR! The whole process took about 30 minutes. A half-hour well-spent to “accelerate action against marine plastic pollution”. 

Once the onboard bin (three to four tonnes of plastic and natural (e.g. tree trunks, branches, seaweed) is full, the waste is transferred to much larger bins on land from where it is incinerated or sorted and recycled. 

In a small section of a small bay in a small harbour, we saw that the ocean can, indeed, be cleaned. It is far too soon to declare victory over the rampant pollution that modern life has sired. Nevertheless, organizations like ALL CLEAR give reason to believe that it can be done. v

We hope through All Clear we can leverage our experiences and technology to help us battle the worsening pollution we face, not just in Singapore but around the world and bring more light/awareness to the issue.

For more info, head over to All Clear.

With research and writing help from JKJ

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.