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Trash talking - Marine Trash and Us

  1. Trash Talking: Marine Trash and Us 28 March 2014
  2. Does Singapore city have marine life?
  3. Green Turtle, Pulau Hantu, Mar 2005 Photo by Jani Thuaibah Jani Thuaibah
  4. The dugong or sea cow, is found in Singapore waters too, where they feed on sea grass. Dept Environment & Heritage, Government of Australia
  5. Indo-pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) Straits of Singapore Photo by Con Foley, 2012
  6. Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin
  7. Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin
  8. Giant mudskipper (Periophthalmodon schlosseri) Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve N. Sivasothi, 2009
  9. Monitor Lizard (Varanus salvator) Pulau Ubin N. Sivasothi, 2009
  10. Tree-climbing crab, (Episesarma singaporensis) Sungei Mandai mangrove N. Sivasothi, 2011
  11. Smooth-coated otters at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve, residential population since 1998 Photo by Marcus Ng aka ‘Budak’, 2011
  12. What’s happening to our ocean and marine life?
  13. Life Magazine 1955 – “Throw away living”
  14. Thompson, R. C., Swan, S. H., Moore, C. J., & vom Saal, F. S. (2009). Our plastic age. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 364(1526), 1973-1976. Plastic threats • ‘One of the most ubiquitous and long-lasting recent changes to the surface of our planet is the accumulation and fragmentation of plastics’. • The most substantial use of plastics today, (> 1/3 of production) is for disposable items of packaging, most of which are discarded within a year or so of manufacture.
  15. Picture by Chris Jordan
  16. The problem with plastics • Non-biodegradable • “Plastics are accumulating as debris in landfills and in natural habitats worldwide.” • “Current use not sustainable” • ‘. . . plastic production continues to grow at approximately 9 per cent per annum.’ Thompson, Richard C., Charles J. Moore, Frederick S. vom Saal & Shanna H. Swan, 2009. Plastics, the environment and human health: current consensus and future trends. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, Biological Sciences, 364 (1526): 2153-2166. Thompson, R. C., Swan, S. H., Moore, C. J., & vom Saal, F. S. (2009). Our plastic age. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, Biological Sciences, 364(1526), 1973-1976.
  17. Los Angeles (Altered Oceans, LA Times) Mandai mangrove, Singapore (N. Sivasothi)
  18. Tanah Merah, 05 May 2013 Gladys Chua, ICCS
  19. Only 20 percent of the plastic in the oceans comes from ships or offshore platforms. The rest orignates from land. Photo from Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin by Andy Dinesh
  20. The Pacific Trash Vortex
  21. Different types of marine trash cause different problems • Very large pieces - huge, abandoned drift nets or ‘ghost nets’ and dumping cause entanglement of animals, suppression of plant growth • Large pieces - from car fenders down to plastic bottles, suppress growth • Macro-fragments - ingested by larger animals such as albatross and other seabirds, turtles, fish • Micro-fragments - ingested by fish, transport invasive species and chemicals
  22. Photo credit: Seal: Lucasa, Z., 1992. Monitoring persistent litter in the marine environment on Sable Island, Nova Scotia. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 24(4): 192-199. Horseshoe crab: N. Sivasothi. Mandai Besar mangrove, 27 May 2009 Dead albatross: Midway: Message from the Gyre by Chris Jordan A threat to marine life looms on our shores, locally and globally Entanglement, Ingestion, Suffocation, Suppression, Toxins, Transport of Chemicals…
  23. Photo credit: UNEP Entanglement of wildlife Entanglement of marine animals Photo credits: Rolf Ream National Marine Mammal Laboratory (top right); Habitatnews (bottom)
  24. Entanglement of marine animals 300 horseshoe crabs in a single gill net. Mandai Besar mangrove, 27 May 2009 N. Sivasothi Entanglement of wildlife
  25. Badly entangled flukes of a humpback whale – Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, United States Entanglement of wildlife
  26. Plastic canvas in stomach of a dead sperm whale. Donana Biological Station, Spanish National Research Council, 28 Mar 2012 (EBD-CSIC/AFP, 07 Mar 2013) Ingestion of plastics 17kg of garbage blocking stomach, including: - some 30 m2 of plastic canvas, - a dozen metres of plastic rope, - plastic sheeting, - two flower pots. “It did not surprise us” - Renaud de Stephanis, a marine biologist at the Donana Biological Station
  27. “Turtles have been found to have eaten most plastic items, but the most common items eaten are: soft plastics, such as plastic bags and lolly wrappers, and pieces of hard broken-down plastic” Dr Kathy Townsend, Moreton Bay, Australia fb: Turtles in Trouble Photos by Kathy Townsend Ingestion of plastics
  28. Midway Atoll, Pacific Wikipedia: Midway Atoll Ingestion of plastics Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge David Patte/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  29. Chris Jordan’s “Midway: Message from the Gyre” (video can be found in YouTube)
  30. How is this impacting you and me?
  31. Thompson, Richard C., Charles J. Moore, Frederick S. vom Saal & Shanna H. Swan, 2009. Plastics, the environment and human health: current consensus and future trends. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, Biological Sciences, 364 (1526): 2153-2166. Thompson, R. C., Swan, S. H., Moore, C. J., & vom Saal, F. S. (2009). Our plastic age. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, Biological Sciences, 364(1526), 1973-1976. Microplastics • There is evidence that plastics are fragmenting in the environment and, as a consequence, will become available for ingestion by a wider range of organisms (Barnes et al. 2009) • The ingestion of plastic debris could lead to the transfer of toxic chemicals to wildlife and to food chain. Recent publications have raised new concerns around this issue.
  32. Captain Charles Moore
  33. No Fishmonger on Earth can serve you a certified organic wild caught fish.
  34. “Plastic Soup” Concentrate organic pollutants up to a million times the ambient level in sea water.
  35. Fish are eating the plastic Concentration of toxics are the highest at the top of the food chain because toxics in our food has accumulated as it goes up the food chain.
  36. The problem will only get worse Thanks to Won Joon Shim, Oil and POPs Research Group, Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, Republic of South Korea, for this slide.
  37. What can we do?
  38. Year Round Cleanups, International Coastal Cleanup Singapore Get out there and clean a beach! I REFUSE TO ACCEPTI REFUSE TO ACCEPT THIS!THIS! What can we do?
  39. International Coastal Cleanup Singapore Started by Ocean Conservancy in 1986 Volunteers in Singapore have been battling marine trash since 1992 Reclamation Reclamation Reservoir Army PROTECTED Army 4,000 volunteers >60 organisations
  40. Proper disposal of waste! Don’t Litter! What can we do?
  41. Zero Waste Singapore with data from NEA “It is ethically wrong that more than 80 per cent of our waste consists of recyclable material … yet so little of that is recycled,” - Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan, 02 July 2013
  42. Throwaway lifestyle is the cause of marine trash!
  43. One-time-use plastic - Something that is used for 5 minutes of convenience but lasts for hundreds of years! Reduce!!!
  44. Personal habits • Refuse plastic bags • Bring your own water • Bring your own coffee mug/container • Battle consumerism culture! What can we do?
  45. Good job Pamela Soo & friends!  Communicate – – facebook – – blog – – newsletters Personal habits What can we do?
  46. Encourage (Family, Workplace) “higher returns” Observe cleanliness, daily resource use Suggest better practices Moderate room temperatures (air-con), recycling (paper and others), etc What can we do?
  47. Encourage  Event catering – – recyclable utensils, – – less food, – – vegetarian options – – do we need goodie bags?  Green audit What can we do?
  48. Public Hygiene Council - Action (nationally, globally)  Write in to ask for reductions Consumers are a potent force!  Speak up - question food wastage, excess plastic use, paper waste.  Share solutions! What can we do?
  49. Creative expression
  50. “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle
  51. Thank you!

Editor's Notes

  1. ICCS – annual beach cleanup event that’s started by OC and currently having 70-100 participating countries. Not only cleanup, but also data collection on marine trash.
  2. Picture by Chris Jordan – 2 million plastic beverage bottles every five minutes.
  4. LA Times Altered Oceans:,0,7783938.special
  5. See What Lurks in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Read more:
  6. So plastic can travel extensively and sometimes can stay in a place in ocean for long.
  7. UNEP 2011 year book:
  8. Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies
  9. Litter threatens sea turtle survivalMichelle Nick AAP Sydney Morning Herald 6 Jun 11; Kathy Townsend video -
  10. From a multimedia presentation series by LA Times, they reported 40% of albatross chicks have died, with their stomachs full of trash. 98% of albatrosses have plastics in them. (For more info,
  12. Captain Charles Moore – start from 4:30
  13. Plastic bags, beverage bottles, cigarettes, food wrappers.
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