Over 1,500 people volunteered in response to Minister Desmond Lee’s call to action following the oil spill 


Over 1,500 people have answered the call for volunteers in the aftermath of the Pasir Panjang oil spill, according to National Development Minister Desmond Lee.     

Speaking at the launch of a conference on horseshoe crabs organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature on June 19, Mr Lee said that he is grateful for the strong support from the public.  

In a June 16 Facebook post, he urged individuals interested in helping to sign up through an online form. The safety of volunteers was paramount, so they would not be deployed for beach cleanup, he stressed.   

“We understand that many want to pitch in and help… We may seek volunteers’ help to carry out post-impact habitat and biodiversity surveys, as well as habitat restoration efforts,” Mr Lee said. 

The National Parks Board activated around 160 volunteers to help with patrols and monitoring efforts at East Coast and West Coast Parks, he said. This included volunteers from the Public Hygiene Council who helped with park maintenance and volunteers from Friends of the Marine Park and public sign-ups. 
On June 16, NParks coordinated a biodiversity survey with volunteers and Friends of Marine Park – a volunteer network of marine scientists, boaters, and ocean-dependent business owners – to assess and monitor wildlife impacted by the oil spill. 

No significant wildlife casualties were observed in the oil-slicked areas of St John’s and Lazarus islands during the survey. 
Other than individuals, he said that non-government organisations such as the Singapore Veterinary Association, the World Wide Fund for Nature (Singapore), the Singapore Canoe Federation have stepped up to offer help. 

The outpouring of public support is a testament to Singaporeans’ desire to help out in causes they believe in, whether for the environment or for the community.  

It is this Singaporean spirit that the PAP hopes to tap on, through the formation of two new groups focused on climate action and mental health. 

As Mr Lee, PAP assistant secretary-general, said during the #refreshPAP event on 8th June, “We want to cater to all Singaporeans, and we want to continue to be seen by Singaporeans and be felt by Singaporeans as a pan-national movement, where all Singaporeans can get represented, and their interests are addressed.” 

Time needed to assess full extent of environmental impact, says Desmond Lee

Mr Lee said that government agencies have responded quickly and have been working together closely to coordinate efforts to clean-up and mitigate the immediate impact of the spill on our coastal and marine environment. 

However, he noted that this oil spill has had a wide-reaching impact, and the incident is still unfolding.  

“It will take us some time to carry out the clean-up operations and fully assess the full extent of the environmental impact. We will then have to embark on recovery and restoration work.” 

In a Facebook post on June 17, he also said authorities are pro-actively protecting Chek Jawa Wetlands at Pulau Ubin, as well as bio-sensitive areas at Pasir Ris Park and Coney Island.  

“We will continue to closely track the immediate impact to our marine habitat, including our coral reef and wildlife.”