Day 5: Plastic
30 December 2017


Silent Killer (3rd Place)
Ling How Ken

“Hey! Who said that you can throw that plastic wrapper into the sea?” I shouted.

Well, that’s what you will hear from me as a beach resort manager. Almost every day, there will be a dead turtle being swept up on shore or a helpless seabird barely alive on the sand. What happened? Their mouth and throat are gagged with plastic debris. All they wanted was to have a normal meal but unfortunately plastic was what filled their stomachs. These poor animals are choking on plastic materials, which slowly but surely will lead to their extinction.

I have to admit, plastic is definitely useful in our daily lives. We use them for carrying things, as drinking bottles, sweet wrappers and the list goes on. However, plastic is non-biodegradable and plastic waste products simply thrown away by inconsiderate human with no sense of environmental awareness had ruined the wildlife’s natural ecosystem. I am reminded of my old self, who used to be ignorant about conserving nature until an incident changed me.

When I was younger, I was outgoing and playful. I enjoyed camping a lot back then and I joined a beach camp with my classmates. Everyone was laughing and having fun. After the games, I rushed to the store to buy myself an ice-cream. I wanted to savour it slowly, while walking along the shore and enjoying the scenery. I peeled the plastic wrapper and mindlessly threw it into the sea before heading back to the campsite.

In the evening, the teacher told us that we might be able to see turtles that night. We were thrilled and waited impatiently for the sun to set. We found a big rock and waited behind it to observe the turtles. After a long wait, four turtles came up the shore. We almost shouted out in joy. Each turtle found a spot and dug their holes to lay eggs.

From afar, I saw a turtle with a brightly coloured wrapper in its mouth. I was shocked as I recognized the ice-cream wrapper which I threw into the sea that afternoon. I was mortified when I saw the turtle struggling to lay eggs with a wrapper stuck in its mouth and tears in its eyes. My face turned as red as a beetroot but I knew I had to do something to save the turtle. I approached the teacher remorsefully and told her about the incident. She allowed me to save it so that it will have a chance to live.

Before the turtles returned to sea, I slowly approached the turtle and swiftly removed the plastic wrapper from its mouth. I felt guilt in my heart but I was glad the turtle did not swallow the plastic as it could surely die. Since that day, I never threw anything into the sea. I even reprimanded anyone who dares to throw plastic into the sea. I just could not bear to see another animal suffer because of our human’s selfishness and wrongdoings.


Broken Pact
Adriana Aida binti Che Ismail

I have presided on my throne since the beginning of time. All beings that exist rely on me to support their lives. In return, I ask for no compensation. I only warn that if you cannot support and care for me in the same way I support and care for you, then I will have no choice but to terminate our relationship. Cut the umbilical cord that provides sustenance and the state of being for you and all life that you know.

In the beginning it was peaceful, the turquoise of the sky meeting with the navy of my body. Aquatic life bloomed inside me. All inhabitants took careful sips from the river that I supplied. Though I did not ask it of them, humans worshipped me. I kept the wheels of the water cycle turning and moved the cogs of life of the animals and humans alike. They depended on me for sustenance. Through it all, balance. A state of equilibrium. Peace.

The humans flourished and prospered. With that success came great consumption and waste. When what nature provided wasn’t good enough for them, they invented and created with greed. It became obvious that they had forgotten the unspoken treaty signed between us.

Aquatic life choke on the petroleum slick that defiles my body, gasping for air and eventually succumbing to a slow cruel death. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a plague of plastic poisons my seas and waterways. It kills my acquaintances that depend on me, such as the turtles, the seals, the fish. Long after their dead bodies have decomposed, the plastic they swallowed stubbornly survives. Ready to claim another victim.

Slowly, it is killing me too. Toxic chemicals are wreaking havoc on my body. Poisonous gases threaten my defence system. The once gentle rays of sun now violently penetrate even the darkest depths of my being. I say this not out of malice. I say this not to scare. But I beg of anyone who is listening to please save me. Because if we cannot maintain the mutualism of our interactions, I cannot keep you alive. I do not joke when I warn you that if you kill me, there is no chance for the survival of your kind.

Once, I presided on a throne of life. How sad, that now I rule from a throne of plastic.

Today, a cruise ship coasts on my seas, spewing a thick black smoke into the air. People laugh and dance in the rays of the afternoon sun. Do they know the pain that I feel? Do they know of the dangers that await them? A small girl approaches the railing. In one hand, she holds a bag of cuttlefish snacks. The other is stretched over the railing, gripping an empty plastic bottle. Like some kind of cruel joke.

She stares deep into my eyes. My gaze is a dare, my body is a tease. Go on. Do it, young child. Kill me now. Then you will know.