Beach Cleaning: The Good and The Bad

25 09 2013


Dear World

Last week, my course-mates and I went beach cleaning as part of a module requirement. With that being said, I am pretty sure most of us wanted to go beach cleaning anyways so we were all pretty excited. During the activity we collected 28 bags of garbage that weighed 230kg. I think that is pretty decent work for only being at the site for an hour.

Anyways, I made a few observations about the activity and noticed that may be, beach cleaning might not be the most effective activity or as good as people perceive. Don’t get me wrong! Cleaning beaches has many benefits such as maintain habitats for wildlife, preventing leaks of poisonous material into the environment and obviously, for aesthetic reasons as well ( we have to make our coast look pretty enough for ecotourism … or may be just plain tourism). In addition, with the recording system official beach cleaning organisations require, we can track how much trash is actually floating around the oceans and eventually end up on our shorelines. Sounds like a good functioning system!

Unfortunately, beach cleaning in theory has many great benefits to the environment and to society. In practice, many concerns come up, mainly to do with human tendencies or so I have noticed. For example, sometimes the people involved in beach cleaning are not necessarily strong enough to carry full bags of trash and therefore use less space in garbage bags and more bags themselves. This makes beach cleaning data more deceiving. While we tried to compile 2-3 half filled bags into one bag, other groups of people may not do the same skewing the results of the data collected,

Another observation I made was that cleaners are selective of what they pick up. While I understand that sometimes some pieces of Styrofoam or plastic are harder to remove use to obstacles that are not necessarily easy to overcome ( e.g. a fallen tree, thick forestation or potentially coming into contact with poisonous or sharp torn), I have noticed that sometimes the most obvious pieces of trash are easily ignored. This could be due to a few reasons; firstly, our group was filled with young people who are adventurous and ambitious( yes, even when it comes to collecting trash). People were ducking and climbing into the mangroves to collect trash that were the furthest to reach. Others when far from shore and into the muddy middle ground between ocean and land. We ignored the obvious when we should have realized any piece of trash picked up would have been beneficial to the ultimate goal: cleaning the beach.

These observations of my cohort should not be considered as generalizations. They are merely meant for people who would do beach cleaning in the future to consider your actions during the activity.  Beach cleaning still has its benefits and volunteers are always welcomed.

The ultimate lesson from the experience is that, really, beach cleaning should not be our first option for protecting our coast. If we want a better coastline, we need to stop the cause the root of the problem; we need to limit our waste and stop using our ocean as bottomless pit for trash.

I hope everyone takes part in beach cleaning though. It is still a very eye opening experience.

Take Care!



Environment Day

20 11 2012

Dear World,

Today was ‘Environment Day’ for the BES students of NUS. It isn’t an official holiday or anything, it’s just a day where we came together and put up exhibits about our Media Project we have been working on for one whole semester. No big deal really but I think it is a good platform to show our Profs we know what the hell we are doing. 

A few things stuck with me during the event. The first was when my Lecture/teacher for the module said that this course is interconnected. Everything we study counts and this was one aspect of communicating a message out there. While she was pretty much stating the obvious, I think it was something that needs to be remembered. In my last post… which was basically a rant, I talked about how my course mates interacted in a sort of elite “Captain Planet” club, talking about the benefits and harms of recycling ( yes there are harms), or how if we involve ourselves in geoengineering it would just be a quick fix solution and blah blah blah. I could go on about all the MANY environmental issues that plague our earth til the break of dawn ( << if you think this is a twilight reference, GET OF MY BLOG NOW).

One group exploring the possibility of reusing cardboard by turning all cardboard into usable items.

I don’t know how my course mates outside the BES room but I think some of us forget that we need to try and inculcating good habits in our friends.  We need to be more vocal. We need to get a conversation started.

While I hope environmental issues will not be a dominant feature in my blog now that I’m in BES, I will be updating in that area once in a while. I like to get conversations going. This is one that I think needs to be more widely discussed.

Anyways, here is what my group did. We focused on Rice Wastage. So to all those reading: please only take what you will need.

For my group presentation, look here:

(Online interactive medium)

Hope you guys liked this. Hopefully there will be more to come.

With regards

simpsons earth day

24 04 2009

earth 2030

27 03 2009

The Tweleve days of Global Warming.

6 01 2009

Seriously I wonder why I should say more. Global warming is upon us and if we seriously don’t do something now well, there goes 7 oceans rising. 5 drowning polar bears. The two melting ice caps. 8 floods. 9 hurricanes. But the 12th one was the best. So don’t want to all of a sudden stop global warming when you see the ocean about to smash your house.

There is Hope.

22 12 2008

Sometimes I wonder if I need to really say more but for those who aren’t convinced read on.

No. You know what. I have nothing else to say. That short and creative video said it all. Don’t believe me? Play it again.

Australia Trip 08: Entry 11- The GREAT BARRIER REEF

18 12 2008

(Warning: This post may be long and rant-y)

Alright, I am in Cairns and all this time I’ve been spelling it Kanes. Dumb, dumb, dummy me…my mum wasn’t surprised though. I have always…always sucked at spelling. Oh well.
Cairns by the way is nothing like Tasmania. It is a lot warmer. A whole lot warmer. Trust me. When they say Cairns is the sunny state, boy do they mean it. They really do! It is so sunny. Its like…woah…sun…
I love it. I can finally wear the pair of shorts I brought :). I just wore it once though. I got here yesterday.
Alright. I just want to say that all pictures and images or the great barrier reef are beautiful but in my opinion they are a crime. Call me crazy but that is what I think. You see, the reason why all the photos taken of the Great Barrier Reef (expect may be the ones taken from outer space) are a crime is because none of them, NONE of them capture the true beauty of the reef. It is breath-taking but then that is rather dangerous because the moment you’re in the water and you’re snorkeling or diving and the reef takes your breath away…you’re going to drown… I’m just being silly. The reef is absolutely gorgeous. No photo of the reef does it any justice, if you ask me. The reef is beautiful and I think I said that about 3 times in 3 different ways. But then again, there is seriously no other way to describe the reef. I don’t have the words to describe it. May be my vocabulary may be a little faulty but honestly. Sigh. I recommend you all see it before it dies, which according to scientist it will in about 20-25 years due to…well you know. The big G.W. … Global Warming….never mind.

If you do get the chance to see the Great Barrier Reef, please book Reef Experience or Reef Encounter. Don’t bother with ANYTHING else. It is entertaining and it offeres scuba diving and snorkeling.However, if you are suffering from any of their listed medical conditions ( like I was) then you may not be allowed to scuba dive 😦  but that is due to medial issues and unless you want to risk your life seeing the reef up close, go ahead.

You don’t need to go scuba diving to see the reef up close. I snorkeled and I was so close to everything. The reef can be quite shallow however please don’t step on anything while out there. You’ll kill how-many-tens-of-thousands-of-years worth of creation. The corals and fishes that are nearer to the surface are more colourful and there is a wide variety. You might mistake the corals deeper to be dead but honestly, they’re not. They just look that way due to the bad lighting situation AT THE OCEAN FLOOR! I’ve read about light and the different colours penetrating in the sea water but to bore you with that would be a crime. It just gets darker as you go down and colours seem darker.

I could just go on and on and on and on about the great barrier reef but I don’t want to spoil it for you. That would be a crime, just like all the images of the Great Barrier Reef. I just like to end off by tell you that there are GIANT CLAMS, and SHARKS and Hump-back Parrot fish oh and normal Parrot fish and I named on Skippy and ….and…blah..blah..blah…

Take care,
Cheyenne Phillips