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Safety Guidelines for mangrove cleanups
(masked, distanced cleanups in groups of five)
Updated by N. Sivasothi, coordinator ICCS, 20 Jul 2020
COVID-19 Guidelines to follow
Important notes before joining a cleanup
- National guidelines: https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19
- National University of Singapore guidelines:
- National Parks Board guidelines: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/noticeboard
Other advice for Participants
- You must read these guidelines
- You must be FREE OF FLU symptoms: do not attend if you have an elevated temperature, sniffing, a sore throat, cough or shortness of breath on the morning of the activity - see a GP if you have any of these.
- Record (or declare) your temperature and wear your mask before leaving the house.
- Turn on your Trace Together App or carry your TraceTogether token.
- Maintain a safe distance of TWO METRES from any other masked participant at all times.
- When in doubt, remember that safety is the priority on any cleanup.
I. What to bring and wear?
- Your COVID-19 mask, and a spare mask - perspiration and condensation are likely to wet your mask during the cleanup. Use a dry mask to wear before returning to a public area.
- Protect your feet! You must wear hard-soled, covered shoes - absolutely no slippers or sandals. If you are improperly attired, you cannot participate int he cleanup and have to leave the site.
- Wear pants to protect your legs against bites and scratches.
- Gloves - you will need your pair of gloves which you must wash and reuse for future cleanups. Trash bags and a weighing scale will be laid out at the site.
- Beware mozzies! Protect yourself from insect bites - apply insect repellent in case of mosquitoes or sandflies before entering the site.
- Rain - be prepared for rain - pack a poncho, raincoat or umbrella.
- Be hydrated! Bring at least one litre of water; if your site has no facilities, bring two litres!
- Sun protection - protect yourself from the heat - wear a cap and put on some sun-block lotion (>SPF 15); do this early, before it gets hot
- Take photos of the site before and after your event, and photos of your Team!
- Record your data as needed, e.g. are you using the ICCS Data Card, or just measuring the weight of each trash bag (as briefed); submit that to your Data I/C before you leave the site.
II. Be sensible and safe!
III: Be Green and sensible!
- Be aware of these wildlife - if any of these are seen, leave the site and alert your Site Captain:
Crocodile, a hornet nest (or hovering wasps) or a mangrove pit viper (on branches of trees)
- Be careful where you place your feet - beware of broken glass, fishing hooks, syringes and other sharp objects which may be present on beaches. Fish such as stingrays and catfish have sharp spines.
- Look where you place your hands, even if gloved. Sharp objects amidst the trash can pierce your gloves, e.g. needles, broken glass, rusty metal edges, exposed nails
- Avoid bushy areas where you cannot see ahead of you; there may be thorny climbers, hornets, wasps, snakes or sharp objects - do not take any risks. So do not duck under bushes.
- Beware of territorial wasps - these may fly around your head and sting to warn you off, so just back off from an area if you feel an insect flying around you.
- Keep your gloves on at all times - when picking up objects and moving trash bags about, until you leave the site.
- Do not open closed bottles - the fluid they contain could be toxic to inhale or even have contact with. Warning labels may be worn off.
- Do not handle oil drums. These may contain dangerous liquids or poisonous vapours. Report these to your Team Leader to inform NParks or NEA for action, or use the OneService App.
- Take care of your back! Ask for help to lift heavy things, and ensure you use your thigh muscles and keep the strain off your back. Leave excessively heavy items behind but report those to your Organiser.
- Dispose of glass and sharps (e.g. syringes) responsibly - enclose them with empty plastic bottles and dispose these separately in canvas trash bags - this is to protect workers who transport trash bags later to waste incineration sites. Alert your Team Leader if unsure what to do.
- Stop immediately if there is a threat of lighting or storms - stop work immediately and seek shelter. Your Your Organiser will monitor this but stay alert and help monitor this.
- Take a break! - Ensure you take sufficient breaks and drink water - more if you are unused to regular physical action.Work at a pace comfortable to yourself.
- Leave natural items on the beach such as driftwood, shells and coral, dead fish and crabs, mangrove seeds, branches and seaweed which are part of the ecosystem.
- Don't damage vegetation and avoid stepping on plants and seedlings. These are part of the natural ecosystem and not only hold down the sand to prevent erosion, but also provide wildlife with food and homes.
- Remove excess mud or sand which may be trapped in plastic before disposing of an item.
- BYO bottle - bring sufficient water in your own reuseable water bottle for hydration. No water will be provided.
- Do not generate trash - avoid consuming products with packaging during the cleanup.
Site Captains on the day of the cleanup
Pre-cleanup check for risk at mangrove sites
- Check the weather the previous night using the NEA App
- Monitor the weather on the day of cleanup
- Have a base station to support the monitoring of weather
- If there is rain or lighting risk at any time, abandon the cleanup and move to shelter, while maintaining distancing.
Team Leaders in communication
- Keep a lookout for cluster of syringes or other sharp objects - tape off a perimeter, warn volunteers to avoid the area
- Crocodile - if present, abandon the cleanup and report to NParks
- Hornet nest - if present, abandon the cleanup and report to NParks
- Mangrove pit viper (on branches) - tape off a perimeter, warn volunteers to avoid the area
- To be alert about weather report
- Communicate with each other about withdrawal
- Ensure volunteers maintain distancing at all times
- Move all to shelter in the event of sudden rain; and maintain distancing