On Oct 15, 2017, more than 70 youth working adults from the World Mission Society Church of God Singapore (SGWMSCOG) participated in the clean-up along Telok Ayer Street. The clean-up was part of a worldwide environmental sustainability movement initiated by the SGWMSCOG.
Telok Ayer—Then and Now
In Malay, Telok means “bay” and Ayer means “water”1). Telok Ayer was once a coastal street and a landing site for Singapore’s early immigrants such as the Chinese Hokkien and the South Indian community2). Today, Telok Ayer Street is located in Singapore’s central business district’s (CBD) and home to a plethora of cafes, restaurants, and bars.
Equipped with bags and gloves, the volunteers started the clean-up from the intersection of Telok Ayer Street and Cross Street, heading towards the Singapore River. They worked together to remove loose trash, such as cigarette butts, plastic packaging, broken glass, bottles, metals, and many other waste materials.
Among various kinds of urban litter, cigarette butts are the most time-consuming and difficult to clean. An estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year. On average, cigarette butts take 1.5 years to break down.
In order to clean cigarette butts hidden in the crevices and beneath the bushes, volunteers rolled up their sleeves without hesitation. They did all this with a heart full of joy and smile on their faces. Many trash bags were filled throughout the duration of the clean-up.
Even God did not come to be served but to serve. Remembering this, the Church of God volunteers will continue to serve the community with a loving heart.