Winner

CATEGORY A : 13- 15 YEARS
Day 5: Plastic
30 December 2017

WINNER

Plastic Hearts
Alyssa Yap Xin Yi

They called them The Discontinued, but the truth is far more interesting.

It began with one person. A test run, if I may. He was a renowned ecologist; that was the important part. To make an effective statement, one must begin strong. We were fighting for the same cause, him and I. Naturally it worked. They found him the next day - lifeless on the cold, hard floor. A clear plastic bag pulled over his face. No evidence of foul play, no sign of accident; he did it himself.

Or so they thought.

But one was not enough. For the heart of mankind was as durable as their creation. I opted for a hint of irony next - a plastics factory. They were definitely harder to convince, but a few nudges, some lovely insinuations, and they were mine. It made headlines that night: ‘MASSACRE AT NEWMAN PLASTICS - Five Hundred Found Dead’. I do admire the photo they put up; rows upon rows of assembly line workers, the Mickey Mouse plastic bags they produced tied over their faces. They dubbed them The Discontinued, an apt description of how their lives stopped short.

But still it didn't stop. They persisted with their abhorrent chemicals and disgusting plastics. Clearly my message had not gotten through. I had to strike closer to their stubborn hearts. No, I had to tear them apart at their heartstrings. The one thing that would break them all. For even a plastic heart can be cut by the right pair of scissors.

The primary school was situated in the middle of the city. A meeting was enough to draw the adults away for it to take place. The children were easy enough to coerce. Light whispers in their ear, warm beams of sunlight, and a pure, untainted heart that still cared for me. There was something poetic in the presentation of it all - the sunlight reflecting shards of colours onto the walls; the children looking almost asleep on their desks, their faces shrouded in the plastic bags they brought their lunch in. I made sure my message strung loud and clear this time. One just had to read the literal writing on the wall, courtesy of a particularly helpful girl with dandelion hair. The way she dotted her i's with empty circles only added to the dichotomy of it all. ‘Mend your ways, before nature chokes you’.

The screams were almost musical.

Now, was it monstrous? Mankind already made me one.

Was it necessary? Absolutely.

Some claim to love me and promise to fight, but they blind themselves with their meaningless apostasies. They are not the ones who bleed trying to cut their children free from plastic rings. They are not the ones whose veins no longer run with the freedom of water. They are not the ones being choked by their tonnes of plastic. Every. Single. Day.

No, not anymore. I will no longer be ignored.

I am Mother Nature, and mankind will know my wrath.

I Have Been Revived
Ashley Jong Yi Ying

Today is the twenty-eighth day. I open my eyes and stare into the vast, blue, cloudless sky. I float and roll with the waves, like a lullaby luring me to sleep, deeply immersed in my treasure trove of memories.

I remembered the day I was born. My body was made up of a mix of coal, gas, salt and of course, crude oil, which became chains of spaghetti-like entanglements after some chemical processes. Further hot and cold processes made me who I am now.

I met a lot, really a lot of new friends who were all exact replicas of me. How quaint! Soon, we were transported to a factory. I was stunned and amazed by the sight in front of me. What a lot of strange machineries. My friends and I were lined up before we were adorned. I remembered the word “Sprite” strapped across my chest.

I enjoyed the cool feeling, the fizzing sound, when a liquid was poured into my body. Then we were packed a dozen a box and loaded onto a vehicle. I was encompassed in darkness and felt quite claustrophobic. Thankfully, my tortuous journey ended and I was placed on a shelf. Before I could extend greetings to my new friends, I was roughly grabbed by a grubby, smelly hand.

I was quickly emptied but not before being badly tickled by a lot of dark bristles! I was flipped and tossed into the air a number of times until I felt quite sick in the depth of my stomach. There was a sudden splash and here I am, after twenty eight days.

Oh, I spy a small boat approaching me now.

“Yes! We have found another plastic bottle!” says a man in red jubilantly.

“I think that’s it for today. This seems to be the last piece of plastic in this river,” a man in black speaks.

It took me a while to finally understand what is happening. These two men are going to get us recycled; from plastics into polyester threads to make eco-friendly clothing. We, plastics, can be useful to man.

I have such a long life span. Some say I can live up to a few hundred years. I am delighted and ecstatic to note that there are environmentally conscious people who care about planet Earth. Maybe, there is still hope in mankind. Helen Keller very eloquently said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Plastic Plankton
Dylan Wong Yun Xian

I have always liked exploring the deep blue ocean; after all, it is the one and only place I can call, home. I have been told not to swim too far out as there were predators lurking about, waiting to feast on my body. The ocean really is a beautiful place and I wanted to venture out, exploring what Mother Nature has to offer to sea creatures like myself. I had never been brave enough to take a look at places that had been talked about by others. Although some places had been described as repulsive and dangerous, I decided that it was time for me to leave the comfort of my place and explore the ocean.

I set out swimming north in a straight line taking notice of the other school of fishes and coral reefs beneath me. One coral stood out in particular as it was swaying in a weird manner and seemed somewhat transparent. That should have raised a red flag as it does not seem like it was an actual coral. I told myself to be a bit more cautious and not to swim for much longer as I had quite a way of getting distracted. I decided that I should head back to where I inhabit for now as it was getting late. Just as I told myself that, I noticed tiny specks floating around near me. Planktons were just what I needed at that point because I was getting hungry and needed more energy to head back so I swam towards it and swallowed it. One by one, more plankton appeared and I happily gobbled them all. I was so distracted that I did not notice the surrounding getting murkier by the second. When I finally felt satisfied, I scanned my surroundings, noticing that I had swum aimlessly and got myself lost. It was a very dirty place and I suddenly did not feel comfortable anymore. I vividly remembered other fishes telling me stories of this place and how polluted it was. I told myself that it could not possibly have been true. After several brief moments; attempting to escape, my suspicions came true. I did not believe it but I had swam into the heart of ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch’. It is known that almost 80% of this place is made out of mainly plastic. Plastic that is poisonous if consumed in large quantities by marine life. If that really was the case then what I had been consuming was not planktons but bits of plastic. I realised the threat of being infected by the chemicals was very much real.

I was helpless at that point. It was near impossible navigating out of the patch and I probably would not have a long time left to live with the toxics present in my body. One question kept repeating at the back of my head, “Why?” Why does this patch exist and will it continue to threaten the existence of marine life?