Surbana Jurong’s Coastal Engineering business unit works hard every day to promote sustainable coastal developments. So when the time came to pick a worthwhile team activity, it seemed fit that they contributed to a cleaner coastline too.
One Saturday morning in March, its team members and their families gathered for a boat ride to Pulau Ubin, an island off the northeast coast of Singapore, before heading off to Chek Jawa, an intertidal flat with a rich ecosystem that is located at its remote eastern tip. Unfortunately, the beautiful scenery was marred by the litter around them.
The group, made up of over 30 volunteers, started removing the waste from the beach and surrounding mangrove, counting plastic bags, bottles, styrofoam, PVC tubes and medical waste among the debris. It was back-breaking work but they filled many rubbish bags in the end.
Tiring as it was, the activity was a valuable teaching moment for the children of the volunteers, many of whom found out for the first time that the oceans are being increasingly choked by plastic waste – this threatens the existence of marine life such as sea turtles, fish, seabirds and coral; they may ingest the plastics or be injured by discarded fishing lines and flotsam.
Another high point was how everyone could enjoy the songs of robins and hornbills, and the lapping of waves in the distance while they worked. The event not only allowed the team to help the environment but to see a greater purpose to their work at Surbana Jurong.
“We must continue to ensure that projects under our supervision carries out all mitigation measures to protect the environment vigilantly,” said James Lam Pei Wei, Senior Director, Coastal Engineering. “This event is a reminder to all of us of the fragile environment and the threat of pollution.”
It was a wonderful Saturday morning well spent! I am particularly encouraged by the young children of our staff who gamely woke up so early on a weekend to help clean up the beach… (and) the tremendous camaraderie shown by the teammates to do something so meaningful for our future generations. I look forward to doing this again.
Seah Kim Huah
Deputy CEO, Infrastructure