Flora index

Fauna index

guide to the mangroves of singapore

Mangrove conservation in Singapore

Peter K L Ng and N Sivasothi (editors)


The International
Coastal Cleanup

In 1996, about 7,529 tonnes of refuse was thrown out each day in Singapore. At present, only 35% of that is recycled. Refuse has become a significant issue for land scarce Singapore, and long-term solutions are being investigated by the Ministry of the Environment (ENV). Recently, Singapore had to resort to using an offshore landfill between the southern islands of Pulau Semakau and Pulau Sakeng.

in Singapore

Coastal Cleanup
Oil spills
Moribund trees
Endangered Epiphytes

Trash is, unfortunately, a significant feature of our mangroves! Other than flotsam from rivers and the sea, the trash also consists of abandoned possessions of former coastal kampung settlements like refrigerators, appliances and even the occasional kitchen sink!

D H Murphy surrounded by rubbish
"King of the Mangroves": D. H. Murphy,
Singapore's mangrove expert, making a point
as he sits on an unlikely throne!

line of trash in the mangroves
Trash line in the back mangrove

Most of the trash is mainly plastic and does not degrade for years, building up at the HWST level to form a strand line, or more appropriately, a trashline! In our mangroves, this is along sandbanks at the seaward edge, and landward behind the mud lobster mound systems. It is thus rarely seen by visitors to our parks.

The localised accumulation actually makes the removal of trash easier if attempted. But this is a sizeable job, for the incoming tide has probably deposited trash flotsam for decades.

Since 1992, the
International Coastal Cleanup in Singapore has been mobilising thousands of students who participate in beach cleanups all over the island.

The trash is categorised as it is gathered, and the collated data provides an estimation of trends in Singapore and the world.

In September 1997, the first mangrove cleanup was attempted at the Mandai mangroves, clearing 40 trash bags containing a modestly estimated 600 kg of mainly plastics.

Interestingly, cigarette butts which comprise the most common component of all other beach sites, was absent from this cleanup!

volunteers recording trash collected
Trash is categorised by recorders as it is collected

trash being brought out of the mangroves
At the end of the clean-up operation is
the back-breaking work of carrying out
the accumulated rubbish through
the forest and streams for disposal
trash being brought out of the mangroves

collecting data on trash collected
Data about the collected trash
is collated and analysed

To the ICC Singapore website>>

What is mangrove?

The Ecosystem


Indirect uses
Potential uses

About Mangroves
in Singapore

Mangroves to visit


From "A Guide to Mangroves of Singapore", Peter K. L. Ng and N. Sivasothi (editors)
Volume 1: The Ecosystem and Plant Diversity and Volume 2: Animal Diversity
Authors: Kelvin K. P. Lim, Dennis H. Murphy, T. Morgany, N. Sivasothi, Peter K. L. Ng,
B. C. Soong, Hugh T. W. Tan, K. S. Tan & T. K. Tan
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre, sponsored by British Petroleum
© 2001 Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, The National University of Singapore & The Singapore Science Centre