S.E.A. Aquarium Society’s inaugural reef cleanup yields 63kg of marine litter

S.E.A. Aquarium Society’s first-ever underwater reef cleanup was held on 6 June 2017 at Pulau Hantu. Nine divers from S.E.A. Aquarium’s curatorial team were joined by four guest divers from Orca Scuba and three dive enthusiasts.

Off to Pulau Hantu!

The team reached Pulau Hantu at around 9.30am, and dived right into their mission.

The divers covered a total area of 6648 square metres, and reached an average depth of 7.5 metres.

Check out what one diver found while cleaning up the reef:


The divers picked up more than 100 pieces of trash, mainly plastic fragments and packaging, and glass bottles. Also among the trash were a portable radio, snorkels, dive weights and even a baby-G watch.

reef cleanup

Kevin Mcloughlin, one of the guest divers from Orca Scuba, shares his experience:

“Our team at Orca Scuba has always been eager to do our part for the environment, particularly when it comes to tackling ocean pollution. As with most reef clean ups, the main culprit is single-use plastic. Even though the waters around Singapore are relatively clean, we still managed to collect quite a fair bit of it. I have dived in many places around the world and am horrified by how much plastic is found in the ocean. It’s everywhere!”

“In a place like Singapore where single-use plastic is still widely used, this initiative is a great opportunity to highlight the problem, and spread conservation awareness on various media platforms.”

Kevin Mcloughlin (left) with other guest divers from Orca Scuba

Aquarist Yvonne Chia from S.E.A. Aquarium shares her views:

“Our backyard Pulau Hantu has a vibrant marine life despite its bad reputation for limited underwater visibility. The problem of marine debris is very real as we can see from the amount of trash we collected. I am happy to be part of our first underwater reef cleanup and hope that our little effort helped to create awareness, and to protect the beautiful marine life that is so close to us.”

Yvonne Chia (right) with two fellow aquarists.

Data on the trash collected was handed to Project AWARE’s flagship citizen-science programme Dive Against Debris®, which collates information on the distribution of marine litter around the globe.

reef cleanup

Since the programme’s launch in 2011, more than 25,000 divers from over 50 countries have reported over 500,000 pieces of trash. As the only underwater debris data collection programme of its kind, Dive Against Debris both improves the health of ocean ecosystems through localised volunteer efforts, and provides valuable information about underwater debris to help inform policy change.

16 divers and 2 hours later, about 63kg of marine litter was collected.

S.E.A. Aquarium Society will increase its reef cleanup efforts to a minimum of twice a year. We aim to bring like-minded people together to protect the marine environment. So if you wish to join us for our next reef cleanup slated for later this year, sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop.

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