Saturday, October 14, 2006

Green Turtle

In 1980, I was fortunate to be able to see 2 leatherbacks within a night at Rantau Abang, Trengganu. I remembered that among the exhibits at the interpretative centre were some of the things that can kill the turtles – plastic bags!

Plastic bags floating in the sea can be mistaken as jelly fish. Turtles can suffocate and will die when they mistakenly ate them.

On 18 Sept 2006, a green turtle was found stranded on the shores of Kampung Tepi Sungai in Kota Kuala Muda, Kedah. It appeared weak and had expelled two large plastic bags (The Star, 21 Sept, 2006).

Kuala Muda is actually not far south of Pulau Bunting (Pregnant Island – it looks like a pregnant maiden from afar) in the Yan district. The island is pristine and not many people will go there as it lacks amenities like road and fresh water. What is interesting about this island which is uninhabited has a 1.8 km long bridge connecting to the mainland.

The multi million bridge that serves no purpose is now a white elephant.

The scenic bridge built between 2002 and 2005 has created an alarming situation for the island and the strait. There were so many anglers along the stretch of 1.8km bridge. And anglers brought rubbish with them. During our last visit (Sept 2006), I saw rubbish being thrown along the bridge. I believe what I saw were only 1 % of the rubbish. The other 99% were already in the sea. Perhaps the two plastic bags that were thrown from the bridge had nearly drowned the green turtle…..if only the green turtle can talk.

Human : Hi green turtle what are you doing at this muddy beach (at Kuala Muda)?
Turtle : What? Do you think I like to come to muddy beach huh? I prefer sandy beach lah.
Human : So why are you here?
Turtle : I am sick and got blurry vision after eating two tasteless jelly fish.
Human : Padan muka (serve you right) why do you eat tasteless jelly fish?
Turtle : Common man, if I can think like you, I won’t be called an animal! I have been eating jelly fish for the last 50 years and food is now scared…. I ate whatever that look like jelly fish. There was pollution everywhere. Ten years ago I lost my brothers and sisters when a big tanker leaked black oil….
Human : BTW, where are you from?
Turtle : I stayed around Pulau Bunting, Pulau Songsong, Pulau Telur and Pulau Bidan. I am weak and have lost my orientation and being swept by the current. Where am I?
Human : Oh, you are 30km from Pulau Bunting.
Turtle : We used to have a lot of food around my home but since the beginning of 2002 when human started building the bridge, seaweed and jelly fish were getting lesser. You human have caused a lot of hardship to my marine friends. Who built this bridge?
Human : Oh, he was once our famous leader in Malaysia. Mmm….why do you want to know?
Turtle : Well, before I die, I wish one day he will reincarnate as a turtle living near Pulau Bunting. The bridge will be here for a long long time and I just want him to eat some of the plastic bags.

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