Drastic events need drastic action! That is what I always say when I’ve had a beer,or two. They have been sinking for years, not the beers; and no one has done anything for them except generate a lot of hot air in Geneva and in New York. Unlike them, I am a Man of Action, [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Think plastic or swim

Gyan C. A. Fernando on his efforts to counter global warming

Drastic events need drastic action! That is what I always say when I’ve had a beer,or two. They have been sinking for years, not the beers; and no one has done anything for them except generate a lot of hot air in Geneva and in New York.
Unlike them, I am a Man of Action, a sort of a Superman or a Minor Deity! You know what I mean, don’t you? No?
I should have explained!

Illustrations by N. Senthilkumaran

Well, what has been happening, in case it had escaped your notice, is that there has been a thing called Global Warming. This has gradually increased sea levels to an alarming extent,all of 4.52cms in the last 100 years,and small islands like the Maldives (Location: Indian Ocean, left, over and under Equator) and Kiribati (Location: Pacific, sort of middle, next to Date Line) are about to sink into their respective Oceans.

The islanders of Kiribati, a stoical lot of coconut-eaters, have taken it calmly and with considerable sangfroid.

That sinking feeling

According to calculations by eminent scientists, they, the Kiribatians, are due to be engulfed by the waves on the 28th of October, 2064 at 1832hrs GMT. (The Kiribatians on islands on either side of the International Date Line will be engulfed on the day before or the day after depending on which side they are standing on.)

Given the short notice, and in spite of being rather corpulent, their President Anote Tong M’nakua Alohakai, rushed, or rather waddled into action like a sea turtle. He bought some land in Fiji to re-settle his sinking masses.

Not so with our neighbours, the Maldivians. Admittedly, my friend Mohamed “Nash” Nasheed, the President of Maldives until he was ousted recently, did make vague noises about buying land in Sri Lanka, India or Australia; but Abdul “BulBul” Gayoom, who came back into power by ousting Nash, has not done anything at all about it!

BulBul is a nice chap on a personal level but I do not think that he has got the “What-do-you-call-it” or the “What’s-its-name” to do anything about it. You know the sort of verve, Man of Action type thing.

This is where I come in.

My plan is simple but innovative in its concept, and radically goesagainst the established thinking; that of re-settling the Islanders.

Resettlement is abhorrent and a rather outdated, inhuman and racist colonial way of thinking. It lacks the “Dignity to Humans” thing. One needs to have a broad, dignified and holy outlook in situations like this.

Instead of the resettlement plan, I propose my radical Plan B: Create new, non-sinkable, re-cycled and sustainable islands!Quite simple. I am sure that you are familiar with the Uros “Indians” of Peru and Bolivia. They still live on man-made islands made of reeds, on Lake Titicaca.

BTW Lake Titi is definitely not an amusement park-type lake. It is at high altitude, quite deep and there are hazards like high waves, strong currents and the Bolivian Navy. The reed islands are rugged and although described as “man-made” it is the women-folk who do most of the work, but that is by the way. That is ancient stuff, I hear you say. You are wrong. They still live there! That is exactly what I just said!

Sands of time

Then there is Nakheel, a household name in Dubai. Again, I am sure you know them well and have bought a property or two off them. They specialise in making Man-made islands in the sea off Dubai. They are not just any old type of islands, but islands in the shape of a palm tree, in the shape of the map of the world, one in the shape of Mickey Mouse etc. Lot of rich foreigners like Bob Geldof, George Clooney, Harrison Ford and I have bought property there.

Their method is simple: Nakheel just dumps sand, which they have plenty of, in the sea! But the Maldivians do not have enough sand for that, I hear you say; and the Indian Ocean is quite deep at that point. Objections! Objections! On your part! Typical!
This is where the floating islands idea comes in!

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! You laugh! Where are you going to get reeds from? From Peru and Bolivia?
Just listen to me for a minute! I propose to build entire islands out of empty plastic bottles!
So there!

One of the serious problems facing Sri Lanka, and no doubt the Maldives, is the amount of discarded plastic bottles. This causes “The Ruination of the Environment” thing. However, I propose to encourage people to drink more bottled water but collect the plastic bottles.

I am in talks with the Hang Choi Wang Plastic Bottle Company of Shanghai to increase their production. I just bought some of their shares. Everything in future, including beer and Arrack, will be marketed in plastic bottles. I myself will personally ensure that the bottles are collected from outside taverns and liquor shops.

Like with bottled water, the consumption of beer and arrack need to increase so that we can collect more bottles. Boy Scouts and the Army, Navy etc. could do their bit, of collecting, but not that of drinking, except water of course.
To this lode,,er…I mean load of empty plastic bottles we add all the discarded polystyrene containers from McDonalds.
Again, people can help us by eating more McDonalds. This advice on my part has absolutely nothing to do with the shares that I hold with Ronald McDonald.

Islas Paraiso Plasticodel Mar (Beruwala) plc.You need a good name for any successful business!The actual floating plastic bottle islands will be constructed at Beruwala in my own boat yard..er, Ship yard: Islas Paraiso Plasticodel Mar (Beruwala) plc., Old Customs Road, Bandarawatta, Beruwala. Everything will be done under the glare of publicity.

They will then be towed out to the Maldives. I also propose to construct them in different shapes, a fish shape for instance or even a McDonalds Big Mac shape, imitating but not copying Nakheel’s innovative ideas.

As a result of my brilliant thinking I will not only be saving Maldivians from the sea but will also be providing employment for my poor seafaring-folk at Beruwala, Maggona, Paiyagala and even at Kalamulla. In the process I will also be “saving the environment”, a popular publicity-orientated past-time these days. Once the islands are anchored in place, I will invite the so-called Glitterati of the pseudo-environmentally-concerned type to buy plots on my islands. We will then proceed to build marinas, Jacuzzis,luxury beach shacks with satellite TVs, drink coolers etc.

I have Bank Accounts in Bermuda, Lesotho and in Jersey.Small Island, go back to where you come from..
What about the poor islanders, I hear you ask?

Well, they can sink,swim or sail off in to the sunset in a reed boat made of Peruvian Totora reeds or of plastic bottles. So there!
As for me, I will be happy just to collect my Nobel Prize: The Nobel Prize for services to the Plastic Bottle Industry.

Share This Post

comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.