On 17 September, Friends of A Rocha in Singapore joined in with the A Rocha family for International Coastal Cleanup Day and World Cleanup Day! 16 volunteers gathered at the beach of Sembawang Park – one of the few natural beaches remaining on the island – located in the north of Singapore, facing the Straits of Johor and overlooking Malaysia. The A Rocha team was encouraged to see several other groups already cleaning the beach, so they walked to a more secluded part of the beach at Eagles Point and piqued the interest of Long-tailed Macaques Macaca fascicularis! The team stood on the sandflats covered with sand balls of Sand Bubbler Crabs Dotillidae and began the day with the 2022 Season of Creation Prayer, adapted to include ocean ecology.
As they started cleaning up, they found food wrappers, single-use food containers, plastic bags and films, clothes, glass, polystyrene, a fluorescent tube and diapers still intact – in less than an hour, the team collected 29 kg / 64 lbs of rubbish. But the highlight of the day was freeing a foot-long Mangrove Horseshoe Crab Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda caught in a giant knot of fishing nets! Alongside a second individual that was already dead, the crab was covered in barnacles and was probably stuck for a long time. Using scissors, the team worked on disentangling the trapped crab and finally, it was free! They released it back into the sea with a great sense of relief and joy. Even though beach cleanups do not solve the systemic issue of plastic pollution, they can save lives! What an encouragement to continue working in faithful hope that creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God (Romans 8:21).
You can see a video of the Mangrove Horseshoe Crab rescue on Instagram here.