At the completion of reclamation activities at Singapore’s Southern Coast in the 1970s, the Government opened the East Coast Park. The park serves several neighbourhoods such as Bedok, Marine Parade, and Tampines. The Park is Singapore’s largest park, built exclusively on reclaimed land. To access the park, visitors can use its service road, which has several exits and car parks. Accessibility is also possible via underpasses linking the park to the Marine Parade estate. Finally, visitors can also use public transport from the service road in East Coast. The popularity of this park stems from friends and families who enjoy visiting it to unwind and enjoy themselves. It has entertainment facilities, barbecue pits, chalets, sports amenities, food and beverages. Despite the above facilities, visitors to the East Coast Park have certain complaints related to the management of pollution in the park. This report accounts for these pollution issues explaining each issue specifically. It also offers management strategies for tackling the issues and the appropriate recommendations.
To understand the complaints, it is imperative to understand the behavior and psychology of the park visitors. How they make their decision, why they visit the park, what are their expectation, and management preferences. The management of East Coast Park need to understand that there is no chance that two individuals will have the same attitudes, motivation, images, perceptions or trends of decision making. Therefore, in order to maintain the park’s image and suitability, the management must understand the visitors who come to the park, in relation to how they make the decision to visit, what their motivation to visit and their preferences are. An individual’s attitude depends on his or her perception of the world. In this case, a perception refers to the person’s impressions of schemas, for example, their impression of a travel destination. Motivation, on the other hand, would refer to the reasons why visitors go to the park; the urges that initiate their needs or demand to visit the park. Lastly, images refer to the ideas, beliefs or impressions a visitor has in relation to the park’s products, activities and opportunities. It is important for managers to understand how visitors make their decision or act in relation to the park’s products. By understanding these, the management will be aware of visitor’s needs, decision process, purchase motives and behaviour, market segments, how to seize opportunities and visitor’s perception on the park.
The decision process of a visitor can be viewed through four elements; demand energizers, demand effectors, demand determinants, and roles and process of decision making. Demand energizers refer to the motivation forces that instigate the need to visit a place. Demand effectors refer to the ideas that a visitor develops about a destination regarding their products or organization. This usually affects the visitor’s knowledge and image of the destination. The decision making process and role focuses on the family members who are involved in the different stages of decision making, and who influence the final decision that the visitor makes. In addition to these, there must be a determiner of the demand.
Managers must understand their visitor’s motivation in visiting the park. Motivation refers to the factors that make someone act. It is a sociological and psychological concept that relays a person’s acquired norms, culture, perception and attitudes. Psychologists have come up with different approaches to motivation, for example, Abraham Maslow, Plog’s model and McIntosh, Goeldner and Ritchie. Stanley Plog’s model allows the population to be classified into various psychographic types, which are interrelated. The Psychographic categories range from psychocentric and allocentric types of people. The psychocentric individuals are self-centred whose thoughts and beliefs focus on a small life area. The people that belong to the category are conservative travellers, preferring to visit places that are “safe”. Safety in this prospect includes physical safety as well as environmental. It also includes cleanliness, for other view dirt as “unsafe”. Therefore, if the park remains polluted or dirty, they are most likely to stop visiting it. Visitors in this group usually come back to the destinations to prove or confirm the situations. The other group, allocentric, is adventurous. Their motivation stems from visiting new places. By understanding this, the park management may improve services to get new exciting activities for this group. With this knowledge, park managers can see that visitor’s decisions usually stem from their motivations and the strength of their wants.
The decision to visit a destination is a process containing several stages; the need arousal stage, need recognition, levels of involvement, identification of alternatives, evaluation of alternatives, decision choice, action and post action behaviour. Once the management has knowledge of its’ visitors decision processes, it is easy for them to tailor activities that will attract the visitors to make the decision to visit the park.
The following sections will evaluate the visitor-management issues raised regarding pollution in Singapore East Coast Park.
Visitors get a chance to make their own barbeques at the park by using the available barbeque pits. The management advices visitors to pay and prebook the pits if they intend to use them. Users usually carry their own materials and ingredients for the barbeques; including coal, wine. Visitors and management are both responsible for maintaining the pits. There have been complaints about littering the barbeque pit which is an offence, which is penalised by a $300 fine. However, it is sometimes difficult to control inadvertent littering, which may be caused by wind.
One of the major concerns of barbeque is its contribution to air pollution. Air pollution can either be manmade or natural. Manmade is when people instigate the pollution such as in industrial wastes, boating, driving, burning wood or coal, and barbecuing. Natural air polluters include volcanic eruptions and natural fires. When barbecuing, visitors use coal for the barbeque pits, which contributes to air pollution. Additionally, the smoke from their barbecues affects other visitors. Air pollution is a health hazard as victims experience symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and watery eyes. Polluted air also causes respiratory problems and difficulty in performing outdoor activities. In addition to these, there are special people in the society who are greatly affected by air pollution. They include pregnant women, people with lung disease or heart illnesses, children, athletes and elderly individuals.
In several barbeque studies, air control and management bodies found out that the charcoal lighter that many people use in barbeques is far more dangerous compared to electric lighters (Stammer, 1981). The lighters emit hydrocarbon which is dangerous on the air.
Disposal of trash is a major issue in East Coast Park. Despite having litter bins, some visitors leave trash everywhere which may stay in place for days. Poor disposal of litter and trash may lead to the exposure of animals to toxic substances. Animals may swallow the litter which contained a harmful substance such as pesticides and oil. Once they swallow this, their digestion is disturbed and it may lead to death. This litter usually starts as from small amount and grows into huge piles which become concentrated by biomagnifications. Through this, the pollutant becomes even more concentrated, hence more harmful. Humans and animals accrue chemicals through inhalation, skin absorption and ingestion. In case a chemical from litter is not naturally degraded, it usually remains in the environment for many years. In case a bacterium or an alga consumes this chemical and fails to excrete it, the chemical accumulates in the organism and with time the toxin in the organism becomes greater than that in the environment. Another organism, like an animal or human, may consume this organism, giving the toxin an opportunity to be inherited.
Littering also pollutes water and soils. The bacteria and chemicals from the litter enter the water system posing health hazards. Wind usually sweeps any trash left on the ground directly to the rivers where they accumulate and form toxic substances. An example of such a substance is the perchloroethene, which causes cancer in humans. Finally, the toxins from litter usually end up in the soil where they become difficult to trace. Once they are in the soil, plants can take them up, later release them in the air, or animals end up consuming them again.
This is all about communicating and facilitating communication tools towards solving a certain issue in an organization. With the above issues, Singapore East Coast Park management must seek an effective management method to resolve an issue and prevent future occurrences. Issue management helps the managers detect and respond to emerging issues appropriately. It involves various stages such as issue identification, monitoring of the issue and environment, identification of impacts and its lifecycle, prioritization of impacts, analysis of the issue, strategic decision making, implementation of decisions, and result evaluation.
There are several strategies that Singapore East Coast Park management can use to manage these issues. They include The Protected Area Visitor Impact management (PAVIM) Framework, Limits of Acceptable change (LAC), Visitor Impact Management (VIM), Visitor Activity Management Process (VAMP) and the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS). The Limit of Accessible Change is most suited for deciding most acceptable and suitable social conditions and resources in the wilderness. With this framework, the management needs to identify the issues, define opportunity classes, select resource indictors as well as social conditions, do an inventory on the resources, identify management actions, identify alternative opportunities, evaluate alternatives and implement actions. The Visitor Impact Management addresses problem conditions, management strategies and potential causal factors. The tool employs the same methods to assess and identify the effects as well as the causes. Visitor Experience resource Protection (VERP) focuses on capacity in relation to resource quality as well as visitor experience quality. It prescribes a desired resource for the future as well as the social conditions surrounding the issue. The protection considers the statement regarding park purpose, park significance, primary interpretation themes, resource sensitivities, values and constraints and management zones. The fourth tool is the management process for Visitor Activities (VAMP), which defines the hierarchy for decision making in the management. Its principles include guiding operational policies and principles, managing visitor activity and management of the planning manual. Finally, Recreation Opportunity spectrum (ROS) is concerned with the park’s recreational demands. It also focuses on analysing and solving conflicts over resource use.
Singapore East Coast Park is a necessity to its visitors. Many people visit the park to unwind and have a good time. Because of this, to maintain visitor interest is fundamental. Having analysed the visitor-management issues involved in the park, it is now easy to understand the issue broadly, their effect and how to manage them. However, managers need to put strict rules, prohibiting any littering around the park. Whenever a visitor goes to the park, they must be informed of the consequences of littering. Additionally, the park should increase the number of guards who watch against careless activities such as littering. In the case of barbecuing, the management should ensure visitors accept responsibility to any barbecue pit that the park assigns to them. In addition to this, the management can educate visitors who wish to barbecue on how to avoid pollution related to barbeques.
The research paper has looked at the issues affecting Singapore East Coast Park. To make understanding of the issues easy, the paper has provided an understanding of visitor behaviour using various theories that explain their decision making process and purchase power. It later looked at the most urgent pollution issues in the park; barbeque pollution, water, soil and air pollution. The paper has proved consequences of pollution to the environment, animals and human beings. It has also investigated several management strategies that management can utilize in solving these issues. They include ROS, VAMP, LAC, VERP, and PAVIM. Finally, it provides recommendations for the management on how to maintain visitor interest in the park. The recommendations relate to the identified issues in the park.