SINGAPORE – About 200 South East District residents gathered at East Coast Park on Saturday for a beach cleanup, where they learnt how collected waste can be repurposed.

Organised in conjunction with International Coastal Clean Up Day 2022, participants collected about 90kg worth of litter that included various plastic materials like food packaging and drink bottles.

Litter was also collected from the sea, with about 40 participants on kayaks.

The residents were joined by South East District Mayor Fahmi Aliman and MPs Cheryl Chan, Heng Swee Keat, Jessica Tan, Tan Chuan-Jin, Tan Kiat How and Tin Pei Ling.

Mr Fahmi said the event was organised primarily for participants to learn about the crisis of pollution, especially plastic pollution along the coastline.

Senior Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How said such cleanups give the community a chance to be part of the National Action Strategy on Marine Litter, launched by the government in June.

Noting that much of marine litter on Singapore’s coasts originate from other parts of the region and are brought in by tidal waves, Mr Tan said the community can contribute by removing as much of this waste as possible, while simultaneously minimising on the amount of land litter that ends up in the sea.

He added that the beach cleanup exemplifies what the Government wants to see under Forward Singapore, where everyone plays a part to keep Singapore clean and green.

Forward Singapore is an ongoing public engagement exercise that will lay out the roles and responsibilities of the Government and citizens in the coming years.

The Re-Purpose Collective was one of the community partners at the event educating residents on giving waste plastics a second life.

Its co-founder Yasser Amin said only an estimated 3 per cent to 5 per cent of marine litter retrieved from beach cleanups can be considered for non-industrial recycling.

The non-profit does this by melting select types of plastics and moulding them into everyday household items such as coasters and flower pots.

It plans to set up a permanent space at East Coast Park’s Raintree Cove where plastic recycling will be carried out. Visitors there can also learn about sustainability efforts by various local eco groups.