#18_fighting_pollution vs #66_pollution

This blog post is part of the Random Sampling Singapore project. The Project aims to sample 100 places on the island of Singapore over a one year period in order to gain an unbiased and holistic view of the city state.

On the 17th of August Pierre Colignon picked me up to hunt two coordinates. Pierre is a trained chemist and physicist, but how he is standing here today, his nature is more like a sophisticated and complex molecule. Through segregation, colligation and catalysis he became someone you can not only talk about science but also about art, philosophy and personal life challenges.

Coordinate #18 is located in the middle of a crossing on a pedestrian island. It was raining that day and when we reached the coordinate we got splashed by a passing truck. But this didn’t hold us back to observe the area closely. The place had two grass patches and the concrete sealed path way.

Sampling #18

Pierre’s attention fell immediately to some tridax daisy that were growing in the grass patch. He sampled some of them with the words, “they belong here”. Afterwards he sampled some rubber, iron junk and a pharmaceutical package from a joint pain drug. By stuffing them into a sample container he said: “These things don’t belong here!”.

Sampling #66

Before getting splashed again and again with rainwater by passing vehicles we decided to move on and looking for another coordinate, which was nearby. Coordinate #66 was surrounded by blue and red containers from one side and from a Exxonmobile refinery from the other side. So we sampled the closest area accessible, the entrance from the container company.

We found lots of items of the category “doesn’t belong here” on the sidewalk, where usually seldom pedestrians are walking.


At home I looked closer to all the samples we brought back that day.

All the items could tell a story. Are the metal parts from the crossing a leftover from an accident? Who took the painkiller and why are there so many burned lightbulbs 💡?

But my thoughts were still with the little flowers, which seemed to grow exactly there, where all the other flowers have given up. They are the little pollution fighters alongside the roads and neglected areas. In Singapore you find them on almost every traffic light halt. Often you see tiny butterflies and insects, busy at collecting their nectar on their buds. Its botanical name is Tridax procumbens and its a common weed native to tropical America and was distributed in tropical Africa, Australia and Asia. It is used in the Indian Ayurvedic medicine and is now in the focus of herbal pharmaceutical research because of its bio active properties which are promising for it’s anti fungal activity. (See Policegoudra et.al 2014)

For the artworks I combined the impressions of that day. I used pictures of the Tridax procumbens flower and combined it with the structural formulas of the GCMS analysis of the bio active ingredients from the Policegoudra et.al 2014 paper and fused the flowers with pictures of the refinery and the container company.