Organizing weekly beach cleanup sessions over the past three years gave Yasser a deep appreciation for both coastal and inland nature environments. Other than being an environmental advocate, he emphasizes on the value of community building, and actively connects various organizations & individuals together in the spirit of civic engagement.
Yasser is currently the Chief Stridy Officer at Stridy which is a not-for-profit that focuses on tackling waste management issues worldwide such as littering
It was on National Day 2020 that I had my first beach cleanup experience. Before this cleanup, save for some pictures I’ve stumbled across, I had no idea how bad the plastic issue can get on our beaches. I was able to experience firsthand what trash being on a beach stretch is like and also realize that there are people who would come out here to do this in their free time.
Since then, I've started organizing my own weekly cleanup sessions and was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who would join me every week. I had friends who reached out to tell me they were interested and even had working adults come down on a Wednesday morning. Furthermore, some of the people I have since met on the beach are now friends whom I consider to be close and have built meaningful relationships with over the past year.
I am really grateful to my past self for deciding to join that cleanup session for it was the gateway to a significant portion of the work I do and the person I am today.
I have organized numerous cleanup sessions since August 2020 and these have allowed participants to have a firsthand experience to the litter/trash issue which exists in Singapore. For many of them, it is also one of the first steps into adopting a sustainable lifestyle.
Furthermore, through my cleanup sessions at East Coast Park, I've managed connect and befriend the workers and cleaners for they are the individuals who are facing the grunt of these issues. While advocating for cleaner environments, I have made it a point to raise awareness regarding the woes that our migrant workers and cleaners face at the beaches and parks.
Eco Anxiety was a real and sudden issue I faced halfway through my journey.
Sometimes, it gets pretty jarring to see familiar spots at the beach when they have increased trash loads. It is during times like these where I've felt sadness, frustration, fear and even despair especially since the beach stretches could have been cleaned just days before. I had to come to terms with the fact that trash is going to keep coming back no matter if we clean the beaches or not. At times, I even find myself feeling numb when coming across such situations.
Being desensitized is a real process that anyone who does work for any cause goes through. Be it you’re an activist, a nurse, or even a soldier in war - if you experience something that's at first really unnatural but continue to experience it repeatedly, unfortunately, you get used to it. Therefore, while all my regular volunteers have grown used to the trash, a person cleaning up for the first time may think otherwise.
All of this eventually led me to the realization that setting aside time & space to process and acknowledge feelings & emotions is essential because they give weight to issues that matter. After all, important things are worth giving heart to.
Climate activism, marine biodiversity, ground-up initiatives, and community organizing.
The group of eco-friends I've gathered and built a community out of these past two years. I love facilitating community meet ups and fostering connections. Some of the community clean-ups / meet ups I've organized hold a special place in my heart and will continue to do so for a long time.
Sharing stories, experiences, knowledge and holding conversation spaces.
Yasser kindly accepts to answer your questions.
If you need additional insights, you can send him a message.
Local Community involvement, CSR, Philanthropy