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It's a Wrap- Paddle For A Purpose 2023!


  • Made from the same species of seaweeds that grow natively in Pasir Ris, Singapore, the production of Ocean Purpose Project’s seaweed bioplastic consumes 65% less energy than conventional petroleum-based plastics and are 100% biodegradable.

  • Premiering at Paddle For A Purpose 2023, the OPP seaweed bioplastic garbage bag transforms "sustainability as usual" into ground breaking garbage bags beach clean-ups and gift bags with seaweed soaps for prizes to participants, replacing typical petroleum-based plastic bags used around Singapore typically in beach clean ups.

  • Now in its third edition, Paddle For A Purpose 2023 transformed Pasir Ris Beach into a vibrant hub of activity and brings over 200 participants together for an unforgettable day of sports, music, conservation, and celebration.

Pasir Ris, Singapore, 2 December 2023

– Ocean Purpose Project (OPP) today unveiled its first bioplastic made from Asian seaweeds that grow natively in Pasir Ris, Singapore. Making its premiere at Paddle For A Purpose 2023, OPP encourages the public to experience the bioplastic and welcomes feedback to improve and expand the use of the material. Combining action in innovation with the support of the community, OPP looks forward to deliver on disruptive and creative projects with mass-scale impact, bringing us one step closer in the fight for our oceans and against plastic pollution.

This is part of Ocean Purpose Project's innovative and 1st in Singapore end to end solution of not just proving that over 20 species of green, red and brown seaweeds grow and thrive in the wild in the waters of Pasir Ris, but that Ocean Purpose Project's painstaking work of biormediation with seaweed and mussels grown with the help of traditional fish farms along the Johor Strait in Pasir Ris are a tangible and vital depiction of ocean conservation in Singapore. In a process known as bioremeditation, seaweed and mussels grown on OPP’s lines are used to minimise effects of harmful algal bloom, serving as natural biofilters to clean our seas, protect our fisherman's livelihoods and can also be used to create biofertilisers as seen in the OPP Herb garden as well as 100% compostable and biodegradable plastic polymer alternatives. The production of OPP’s seaweed bioplastic consumes 65% less energy than conventional petro-based plastics and do not contain any plastic polymers or hazardous chemicals. Even with a shelf life of up to 18 months in tropical climates, they are also 100% biodegradable and safe for soil.

Why does Ocean Purpose Project champion for a Pasir Ris- based seaweed bioplastic bag?

For years, people attending the Ocean Purpose Project beach clean ups would ask, “Why are you still giving us plastic garbage bags to do beach clean ups?” From the beginning of our company’s inception, our founder Mathilda spoke of a day when the town of Pasir Ris would use seaweed bioplastics made from exactly the same species of Asian seaweeds that grow natively in Pasir Ris and take active steps to stop single use plastic pollution at sea through this innovative product, a fact she mentioned years ago in this interview with Yahoo. This is the first premiere of the OPP Seaweed Bioplastic garbage bag as well as OPP Seaweed Bioplastic gift bags given as prizes to participants. The seaweed bioplastic does not contain ANY plastic polymers or hazardous chemicals, can be composted in home compost units and is safe for soil while having a shelf life of up to 18 months in tropical climates.

Through the help of an MOU to undertake research and share resources with as James Cook University, this event acts as a soft launch and irrefutable proof that Pasir Ris is a vital sustainable beach

town capable of mobilising seaweed as a third-generation feedstock for bioplastics with a plethora of benefits such as:

- no land use involved in its cultivation

- delivers regulating and supporting ecosystem services

- reduces incidents of disease with monoculture of commercial seaweeds

- promotes biodiversity and creates habitat provisions such as carbon and nutrient cycling, potentially contributing to the reduction of effects from eutrophication, ocean acidification and climate change.

However the little NGO of Ocean Purpose Project isn't just showcasing how years of academic research can be translated into commercial products in record speed and dynamic mobilisation, respect and acknowledgement to the First Nations people of Singapore and relations of traditional Kampong Pasir Ris residents and Orang Laut were paid tribute to and given first honours during the Paddle For A Purpose 2023 opening ceremony to show how much value is placed on indigenous knowledge of seaweeds in Singapore, the first time they have been publicly acknowledged for such contributions. Student collaborations were showcased not as simple awareness projects but to investigate how the herbs grown at the OPP Herb Garden can be combined with prawn shell bioplastic to create a film capable of killing algae blooms.

Now in its third edition, Paddle For A Purpose is OPP’s hallmark annual event that transforms Pasir Ris Beach into a vibrant hub of activity. This year, OPP, with the support of event partner/sponsors, brought Pasir Ris together for an unforgettable day of sports, music, conservation, and celebration. Celebrities and ocean luminaries from around the world came to see the "pride of Pasir Ris"- Miss Universe contestants from Indonesia, Cuban musicians, local commedians and solar powered beach cleaning robots from France came to visit the OPP Beach Hub in Pasir Ris just to see the iconic OPP Beach Hub, touch that seaweed bioplastic garbage bag and to be a part of the amazing ocean sustainability tribe and vibe being built through action and dedication.

Community is about giving and working together, in this one event so many aspects of ocean conservation came together in a way that combined family bonding through sports, sustainability and music while mobilising the shipping industry to innovate solutions on energy, waste and seaweed- elevating what it means to live, work and play in the sustainable beach town of Pasir Ris.

Activities held on 2 December 2023 include:

  • Beach clean-up: Super charged by our partner, Searial Cleaners, the BeBot beach cleaning robot made its debut at Pasir Ris beach and worked alongside our volunteers to retrieve rubbish found at the beach.

  • Water sports races: Hosted by Va’a France, it is the first time paddlers from Sentosa, East Coast, and Kallang journeyed north to compete in Pasir Ris waters, fostering international camaraderie and promoting ocean conservation on a global scale.

  • Mental health & Plastics film screening: Hosted by Mental Health Film Festival, a screening of films about children, landfill and plastics had audience weeping as they delved into various facets of mental wellbeing and how it connects with the environment.

  • Musical Extravaganza: 100% solar powered live performances by Wild Pearl Studio where DJs mixed the sounds of nature with innovative beats, cycled and spinned tunes and the Havana Social Club had the participants getting their salsa on!

All proceeds from the event will directly support research initiatives and ocean projects in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. These projects focus on bioremediation efforts, coral reforestation, and empowering indigenous communities through seaweed farming. Funds are still needed to meet the goals of Paddle For A Purpose 2023, you can still donate to the event by clicking on the top of this article. Every dollar counts!

“The creation of Ocean Purpose Project seaweed bioplastic would not be possible without the knowledge that descendants of the Orang Laut and residents of Kampong Pasir Ris have so generously shared. As we continue our work to turn pollution into solutions, we want to also ignite, attract, engage, and collaborate with like-minded and solutions-driven individuals in our community. Paddle For A Purpose is a fun and accessible way for others to understand our work and mission. My hope is for the community to recognize that solutions to support our global climate crises can come from our town of Pasir Ris. Pasir Ris means white sand and I look forward to working alongside our community to keep it that way, “ said Mathilda D’Silva, Founder and CEO of Ocean Purpose Project.

“We can all play a little part regardless of where we are or who we are. From inculcating the three Rs – reduce, reuse, and recycle – into our everyday life to taking care of the parks and beaches in our neighbourhood. Paddle For A Purpose is a wonderful initiative by the Ocean Purpose Project that I’ve worked with since coming to Pasir Ris and I’m heartened that we can bring people together to have fun while doing something meaningful. We are grateful for the many sponsors and partners that came together for a good cause and look forward to collaborating with Ocean Purpose Project to deliver successful events like this in the future,” said Desmond Tan, Minister of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

“Paddle For A Purpose is a great way to bring together corporations, government agencies, and individuals to raise environmental awareness and better understanding of sustainability initiatives in Singapore. As a facilities management and engineering firm, we have the responsibility to learn, innovate, and make sure our services are delivered in a way that minimizes the environmental impact of the built environment and conserves the planet as best we can. We are proud to support this event and hope that under the guidance of organizations like Ocean Purpose Projects, corporations and individuals alike can use their skills, knowledge, and time, to make valued and valuable contributions to our environment,” said Natalie Craig, Managing Director, C&W Services, Singapore.

“By participating in an event like Paddle For A Purpose, we are showing movement for the ocean sustainability cause. Experiencing seaweed bioplastic for the first time as the leader of the beach clean-up and prize presenter, I’m very excited by the possibilities it can bring for Singapore, Indonesia, and the world. It represents more than the replacement for single-use plastics, but the potential to harness materials from nature that can simultaneously tackle pollution in our oceans. I look forward to expanding the dedication and time put into creating this successful event and reminding others that there is a community out there that cares for our oceans,” said Vina Anggi Sitorus, first runner-up of the Miss Universe Indonesia 2023, advocate for environmental care and marine protection.


About Ocean Purpose Project

Ocean Purpose Project (OPP) is a proudly Pasir Ris-based social enterprise driving ocean conservation and plastic pollution prevention via disruptive and creative projects with mass-scale impact. Founded by Mathilda D'Silva in 2020, after a water pollution incident left her with intense autoimmune conditions, OPP was created as a platform for unique projects that could solve the same ocean pollution issues that made her sick. Today, OPP works across three key pillars: Plastic to fuel, bioplastics and behavioural change. Find out more at

About Paddle For A Purpose

Paddle For A Purpose, hosted by the Ocean Purpose Project, is an unforgettable day of sports, conservation, and celebration as Pasir Ris Beach. Established in 2021, it is a free and inclusive event welcomes participants of all ages and interests. Paddle for a Purpose 2023 would not be possible without the sincere and valued commitment and help of our partners and sponsors:


  • Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore

  • Team Va’a France

  • Wild Pearl Studio

  • Havana Social Club


  • Thrive X

  • Mental Health Film Festival Singapore

Gold Sponsor

  • C&W Services

Silver Sponsors

  • Aderco

  • Group Triplex

Bronze Sponsors

  • Women's International Shipping & Trading Association Singapore

  • NOQ Events

Prize Sponsors

  • Kose (Sekkisei)

  • Revolve Eco Logical

  • Reef

For more information on how Ocean Purpose Project's sponsors work closely with us as mentors, read more here.

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