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Lending a hand to Singapore's environment

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Youths take small steps towards a greener Singapore with Project-Island-A-Hand.

On Nov 30, over 400 volunteers came together for Outward Bound Singapore's (OBS) largest inaugural outdoor conservation classroom – Project IsLand-A-Hand (PIAH).

PIAH aims to educate youths about the importance of sustainable environmental conservation with a hands-on approach. 

Beginning as early as 7.45am, volunteers were involved in reforestation, coastal cleanup, invasive plant management and flotsam fence maintenance across Pulau Ubin and the neighboring Coney Island. 

The bulk of the volunteers were deployed to coastal cleanup, with 280 volunteers spread across 10 beaches. 

 
ONE OF THE BEACHES WHERE VOLUNTEERS WENT TO PICK UP TRASH.

As for reforestation, a total of 60 saplings were planted on both Pulau Ubin and Coney Island. 


REFORESTATION MAINLY TOOK PLACE ON PLACES WHERE FOREST FIRES HAP
PENED.

Flotsam fence maintenance which is the construction of fences to prevent trash from washing up on beaches and invasive plant management took place on Coney Island and Pulau Ubin respectively, with 70 volunteers doing the job. 

It was truly inspiring to see so many young volunteers taking the time to learn about and care for Singapore's environment. I was also happy to see the insight these youths had on issues like the future of Singapore and environmental stewardship. 

During lunchtime, there were sheets set-up for volunteers to write down their thoughts on Singapore's environment. 


ALMOST EVERYONE STEPPED OUT TO WRITE DOWN THEIR THOUGHTS.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how insightful the answers were, especially since they came from such young people. 

 
SOME TOOK THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW THEIR ARTISTIC SIDE.

Most of the volunteers were OBS alumnus who caught wind of the event through their former camp instructors and emails. 

Though youths were everywhere, there were also volunteers in their thirties, forties and even fifties. 

Jun Hien, a teacher at St Joseph's Institution was one of them. The 35-year-old is also an OBS alumni and PIAH was his second OBS-organized conservation event.


JUN HIEN, SUNBURNT FROM A DAY OF CLEANING UBIN'S COASTLINE. 

"I think it is very inspiring to see so many young people who signed up to come and help. What is of great concern is that there is quite a lot of rubbish around the coastline and a lot of them are Styrofoam," shared Jun Hien, who took part in the coastal cleanup

On the other end of the age spectrum, there were primary school children doing their part.

Yun Min, 10, was told about the event by her father and it was extremely endearing to hear what she had learnt from PIAH.

Speaking between giggles, Yun Min said: "We have to keep Singapore clean and we cannot litter on the beaches especially."


YUN MIN (LEFT) WITH HER YOUNGER BROTHER.

Senior Minister of State, Mr Desmond Lee ended the day with a speech on the importance of keeping our nation clean and green. He brought up the fact that we are not just conserving the environment for our children but also for ourselves. 


MR DESMOND LEE IN AN INTERACTIVE SESSION WITH THE VOLUNTEERS.

As Mr Lee said, caring for Singapore's environment starts with our youth.

It was a humbling experience to have witnessed strangers take time off their schedules to come together to improve our environment and I was glad to have been a part of it.