Published: 3 March 2023
26 November 2022 - The S.E.A. Aquarium Research and Conservation team led a joint force of 53 participants composed of RWS Team Members (TMs), students from Republic Polytechnic’s (RP) DEAFining interest group, as well as staff and beneficiaries of Singapore Association of the Deaf (SADEAF) on a beach cleanup effort to tackle marine debris at East Coast Park. This is the first time members of the local deaf community were involved in one of S.E.A.A.’s cleanups; RP students well-versed in Singapore Sign Language facilitated communication with the invited deaf participants.
During the hour-long session, a total of 15 bags were filled with 126kg of marine debris. Among the debris collected were disposable masks that have been encountered with increasing frequency throughout this pandemic era. While masks play an important role in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, many models of masks—like the N95, for instance—contain plastics that are non-recyclable. And due to unregulated and improper disposal, face masks have become a major source of marine plastic pollution.
Overall, the beach cleanup was a great success. More importantly, by engaging members of the local deaf community, the Research and Conservation team hopes to convey that everyone has a part to play and can contribute meaningfully to marine conservation.