People’s Association’s PAssion Wave, which offers a range of waterfront activities, has temporarily ceased stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rental at its Pasir Ris and Sembawang outlets.
In response to queries from CNA, the club said it has implemented precautionary measures at the two branches to minimise potential risks following NEA’s advisory.
These include reducing water time for activities – kayak rentals are now limited to two hours – and mandatory rinsing and disinfection of equipment for organised groups.
The club is also encouraging the public to engage in watersports and lifestyle activities at its other branches at Jurong Lake Gardens, Bedok Reservoir, East Coast and Marina Bay instead.
A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY
The Ocean Purpose Project, a social enterprise whose activities include beach cleanups and monitoring seaweed growth, has also been affected as many of its events involve the use of kayaks and SUPs.
“We have brought back some COVID-19 protocols and precautions, including hand-washing before and after an event, and the use of water-based hand sanitisers that are safe for aquaculture,” its founder Mathilda D’silva said.
“When we’re doing a beach cleanup, we don’t wade into the water. We encourage people not to swim into the sea to collect rubbish.”
Despite the inconvenience, the enterprise said the situation presents a teaching opportunity to help the public recognise the importance of ocean health.
“Unfortunate incidents like this elevated bacteria levels actually helps us to now explain to Singaporeans the link between humans and oceans. Seas are not just polluted with plastics, we are also facing sewage pollution, agricultural runoff, bacterial blooms,” she said.
She also emphasised the need for clean waters to ensure the sustainability of fish farms around Singapore and safeguarding food security.
“Everybody needs clean seas to operate,” said Ms D’silva, adding that she hopes the situation does not deter the public from joining her group’s environmental activities at a time when nature needs help more than ever.
Early findings show that the higher bacteria levels at the two beaches are from inland sources, and not from outside of Singapore.
Responding to CNA queries, the NEA said it is working with other agencies to mitigate possible sources.
Beachgoers are encouraged to refer to the Beach Short-term Water Quality Information (BSWI) on the NEA website or the myENV app if they intend to engage in water activities, said the agency.
Additional reporting by Natasha Ganesan