A drop in the ocean


Syed is lying on the beach shirtless and happy that he skipped school and came to the beach. He played frisbee with his friends for a while and laid down enjoying the sunshine and tide sounds. That felt so peaceful and serene for him. Not that a ten year old boy won’t have worries in his life, he has some stuff to do and that’s too important for him. For now he is lying down and enjoying the blissful moment.

He suddenly felt something itching near his feet. He woke up and looked for it. There he found a red ear slider turtle. He bent down to take a closer look saying, ‘hey what’s up buddy.’ It is a baby sea turtle which is barely three inches. It has a red color skin along with the ears. Syed thought that’s how probably one would recognise and why they were named as red ear slider turtles. Syed loves marine animals. He loves fish. He has an aquarium in his home with a variety of fishes. Being the only son to his parents, he feels those fish as his siblings. He talks with them, fights with them and plays with them. Syed bent down and took this turtle into his hands. There is something so unusual about this one. It seemed to struggle a lot to move. It is trying to open his eyes but it seemed that the effers were vain. Syed started to realise that the turtle immediately needed proper food. He wore his shirt and rushed back to his home with the turtle in his hand. He bought appropriate food for it on the way. When he reached home he took one of the old small glass boxes. He filled it with enough water and dropped a few colorful stones in it. He put the turtle into it and dropped the food for it. 

After some time it started to move a bit easier than it had before. Maybe because of the food. Syed has been watching it for some time and he started to love it too. He pointed his finger to it and said, “Hey buddy! I really thank god that I noticed you today. Let me give you a name. How about Rex. Cool right?” Rex waved his hand as if he was accepting the name. Syed gave a big smile. ‘Let’s play some game now. Are you up?’ Rex moved all around the glass box. He no more seemed to be tired. Syed would point his finger at various places outside the box and Rex would walk to that point and touch the glass. Syed is so excited for his new little friend. He played and talked with him for sometime and went out to get some more food for him.

When he returned, he saw Rex standing still at a point. ‘Hey Rex! Had a quick nap eh?’ Syed dropped some food onto the box. ‘Come on buddy time for a quick play.’ He pointed somewhere near to the Rex. Red didn’t even flinch a muscle. He closed his eyes and kept his mouth open. Syed took him into his hands and started to give a push. Rex didn’t respond. He realised turtles would tuck themselves inside their shell if they were sleeping. He took Rex closer to his nose and he got a bad odor. ‘God!’ He realised that Rex is dead. Even though it was just an hour ago he saw him, tears started to drop down. He couldn’t control himself. He cried out loud. He realised there is something in Rex’s mouth. Something that made him kept his mouth open. He looked for it and found something blue in colour. He reached for it with his fingers and pulled it out. It is a piece of plastic cover. 

His father came downstairs to hear Syed cry. He asked him about what happened. Syed told everything and asked his father, “Dad, had this piece of plastic killed Rex?”

His father answered, “Syed listen, Do you know how plastic is harmful for marine life? Animals might take plastic as food and that sharp plastic debris might give a cut inside their bodies and can even affect their digestive system because of which they will starve to death. Turtles eat jellyfish as their food. Most often they mistake plastic covers with jellyfish.”

“So this plastic cover killed Rex? I would beat the guy who threw this into the ocean”

“So you should beat yourselves first.”

Syed gave a startled look.

“See, if this five grams of plastic killed this turtle, how many other fishes and turtles would die for 10000000000kg of plastic that has been deploying into the oceans every year. Do you know that by 2050 the weight of plastic in the ocean would over weigh the weight of fish in it. Even big animals like sperm whales are dying because of eating plastics. People are doing it. We are doing it.”

“So what do we do now? We cannot control everyone in the world right?”

“That might be true. You cannot change the entire world by yourself but the change can start with you. Avoid plastic in all possible ways. Use biodegradable bags. There is an alternative for every plastic usage. We are using it just because it is cheaper and reliable but we are not thinking about the disasters it could cause.”

“If I stop using plastic, can I change the world? I am only one among the billions right?”

“Your work may only be a drop in the ocean, but billions of such drops form the ocean itself. Be the change you want to see in the world. Let it grow in the people around you.”

Syed gave an acceptance nod. He and his father buried the turtle in their backyard.

‘I am sorry Rex.’

*Avoid plastic. Save marine life!*

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