Friday, August 1, 2008

What happened to East Coast?

Today at the wee hours, or super early morning, Ria, Chay Hoon and I went East Coast to check out the shore in this last week of super low spring tide of the year. I came with much anticipation to meet the returned sea fans encountered two months ago.

Entering the shore, I was shocked to see the shore covered with silt and mud. It looked and smelled bad. The water was murky as well. Immediately, I went to check the sea fans that were there two months ago but to no avail.

There was this thorny sea cucumber still hanging on to the otherwise rather bad conditions.

It's kind of sad to witness this only remaining tiny sea fan. To be optimistic, maybe there are a few more lying around? If you take a closer look at the silty substrate, you can find the whole ground is covered with greenish anemones.

These tiny anemones are speckled everywhere on the shore. Is this good news?

I've read a journal study on Rocky intertidal communities: past environmental changes, present status and predictions for the next 25 years by Thompson et al. (2002).

It stated that "Siltation will continue to increase due to urbanization of catchments and estuaries, and changes in agricultural practice. This may have considerable impacts at local and regional scales, favouring sediment tolerant organisms such as turf algae and anemones."

It is possible that the increase in silt on the shore favoured anemones that are generally tolerant to these sediments.

Just yesterday, there were new reportings on Pasir Ris water being unsafe for swimming due to high levels of bacteria that are also found on human faeces. The Channel Newsasia reported that "However, authorities said that does not mean the water quality at Pasir Ris has worsened. It is simply because the new WHO standard have now become more stringent."

It was also mentioned that the water quality at East Coast Park is rated as "Good". Given that the new standard has become more stringent and that the "Good" rating given to East Coast, it is weird to see that the shore is now worse than two months ago. Maybe it is because the parameter to test the quality of water depends only mostly on the level of bacteria but not so much on siltation? If so, perhaps the level of bacteria at East Coast wasn't abnormal enough and thus such levels of bacteria does not have any link to the pollutions on the shores. In all, how valid and comprehensive are such water quality tests? Maybe some experts can enlighten on this.

Click to read more about the living creatures of Pasir Ris and East Coast.

Back to the question, what happened to East Coast?


Thompson, R.C. et al. (2002). Rocky intertidal communities: past environmental changes, present status and predictions for the next 25 years. Environ. Conserv. 29(2): 168-191

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