The following are reflections from our volunteers who were at the Dunk IT! @Chingay Programme 2012 which happened on Friday, 3rd February and Saturday, 4th February.
Dunk IT! 2012 was a really fun and different experience for me. For the past few years, the closest thing I have done to help the environment was to talk to people and encourage them to be green. Dunk IT!, on the other hand, was a whole different experience because it allowed me to put my concerns and passion for the environment into actual action instead of mere lip service.
During the course of the event as we went around talking to people, I realised that many of the people that we approached did not really understand the significance of their actions towards the environment. When we asked them to write down their “acts of green”, many of them did not know that things such as taking the public transport or proper disposal of their waste were considered green acts. Hence I think that there are actually many Singaporeans out there who do things that help to sustain the environment without them realising it, even though people always critic that Singaporeans are “un-green”.
What my friends and I did out there yesterday may not be much and there may be people who feel that our influence is minimum and that there is insignificant impact. Giving out “Please don’t litter” souvenirs may not be much but I personally believe that there is no act that is too small or insignificant. It does not matter how much we do because as long as someone is doing something, there is hope. Small things when done repeatedly and continuously can amount to achieve big differences. So I would urge everyone to be more optimistic and do your part for the environment in any small way that you can.
I am really glad that I signed up for Dunk IT! and I would like to encourage all youths who are passionate about the environment to come forward and take part in activities organised by Eco Singapore to do your part for the environment!
Toh Chin Foong
Well, this is my first time working with the NEA. Basically I find this event very meaningful and although some may think that what we did are insignificant, but it is undeniable that our act has instil some awareness in the people we approached. We asked the people we met and approached in Chingay 2012 to take out few minutes to complete a survey for us. The survey is actually to test and create awareness regarding the environment in them. We also asked the people around to write down their green act on a piece of whiteboard which we carried around. Some interesting pledges people wrote on the boards are ‘I do not eat shark fins’, ‘I walk to work every day’, ‘I bring my own plastic bags to shopping’ etc. Besides, we also met some very enthusiastic people and new friends who made our project more interesting. In conclusion, we feel more accomplished after the project as we know that this little effort of ours has made the world a slightly better place.
Michelle Lim Zi Qing
I was involved in the DUNKIT initiative for ~4hours, kindly organised by amazing people from ECO Singapore and NEA (Thank you!). The briefing made everything seem nice and easy. The problem: excessive littering. The solution: Increase awareness so that it doesn’t happen, or happens less this time. We had whiteboards, surveys, and freebies – because Singaporeans love freebies; and of course, the limitless thank-yous and smiles only excited volunteers could muster.
But sometimes, a passion and a belief in your cause also needed to be backed up by the ‘thick skin’ of bravery – because when my team was faced with our designated area, we succumbed to many ‘uuuhs’ and furtive questions: “Should we ask them? Or tell them?” It was a tough first fifteen minutes, and we had three hours left to go. But there were many lessons learnt:
A smile is almost always met with another,
People are interested in what you have to say, if you show interest in them as well (We had an amusing anecdote from an uncle about how he would never throw cigarette butts on the floor again!)
And that litter may be due to environmental limitations as well, for example, a lack of dustbins rather than a lack of caring.
Overall, the effort might have been a drop in the ocean, but it felt amazing, especially with my like-minded team mates who were fun to be around. I was glad to contribute!
Han Bing Ling
Piles and piles of trash, paper cups, plastic bags and cigarette butts are a common sight after every large scale event in Singapore. While we can wait for cleaning services to remove such trash for us, these piles of rubbish may prove to be a health and fire hazard. When that happens, something that was preventable may cause irreversible harm.
Dunk It! initiated by ECO Singapore addresses the issue of trash generated at events with massive turnouts. This program serves to remind all Singaporeans to be proud of their public spaces and take ownership of them. Through several activities, Singaporeans are encouraged to dispose of their trash in the proper places, and to share with others what other environmentally-friendly acts they have done.
This year, Dunk It! was held during the Chingay 2012 Parade, in collaboration with the National Environment Agency (NEA). Volunteers enthusiastically participated for events on both the 5th and 6th of February. As a working adult, I attended the one on the 6th. Leaders Lastrina and Yi Han gathered us at the Singapore Flyer and briefed us on our duties before splitting us into groups of 3. It had been quite awhile since I participated in a mass event and was pretty excited about it.
There were 3 activities that volunteers had to get the public do:
– ‘A Million Acts of Green’, whereby the public had to write down one green act that they’ve done on a whiteboard and take a photo with it
– Pick up any trash they see and get rewarded with a small freebie
– Fill out a short questionnaire on environmental concerns in Singapore
Besides getting the public to do all the above (if they are willing to), volunteers had to carry out 2 trash audits at the area they were assigned to, at 5pm and 7pm, and gather data on the type and amount of trash picked up. As our area was quite clean at both times, save for a few cigarette butts, we didn’t see a difference.
The interesting part came when we engaged the public in the 3 activities. Most were happy to fill in the questionnaire. Some were stumped by several questions, but we could see that every participant was thinking very hard! The public also needed some persuasion to write down their ‘acts of green’ as they weren’t used to it. However, their enthusiasm in trying to come up with a good green act is very encouraging, and my team had a good time sharing with the public what some green acts we’ve done, and what they may consider as a green act. In the process of writing down their green act, we could see that some members of the public felt proud and immensely happy of what they’ve done. This highlights the importance of validating one another’s action, so that everyone will know that no act is too small, and that collectively, we can all make a difference.
Finally, we also spotted a few people throwing trash at the right place, and gave out their well-deserved Dunk It! badges and anti-mosquito wipes. Needless to say, these ‘green Samaritans’ were pleasantly surprised by their gift!
Dunk It! by ECO Singapore was a success, and it was clear that all the volunteers had a great time interacting with other people, and making new friends in the process. Environmental awareness in Singapore is increasing, as we learnt from the public we spoke with. This bodes well for Singapore, as we move towards a new future where climate concerns take centre stage in our day to day living.