Wai Peipei Comes Of Age
By Ed Crane
June 2nd 2041: Hawaii celebrates its new island’s twenty-first birthday.
This day twenty-one years ago, during the World’s first recorded Category-6 hurricane, an estimated five hundred tonnes of refuse consisting mainly of fishing net, plastic bags, ball-point pen cases and used disposable diapers became entangled on a section of coral reef ten kilometres off Big Island, creating the World’s first naturally occurring man-made island.
Since its birth, the island now known as, Wai Peipie (water-baby) has been growing at a rate of ten square-kilometres a year and has reached an elevation of 850metres, nearly seventy times the expected sea level rise when the ice-cap finishes melting. At this rate of growth, by 2100 it is expected to replace the Great Barrier Reef as the biggest natural structure visible from space.
Wai Peipei is made up entirely of waste consumer materials from countries around the Pacific rim. Ten years ago it was designated an area of special scientific interest due to the discovery of bacteria – believed to have evolved in the huge amounts infant faecal flora, present on the island – which can rapidly break down polymerised molecules of petroleum based plastics to short chain oils containing dissolved propane and methane gas. Scientists estimate the island will become one of the planet’s largest sources of carbon based energy by 2070.
Naturalists are also spending a lot of time on Wai Peipei studying how the land is being colonised by plant and animal life. The work has revealed a surprising bio-diversity, which is made up from plants and creatures trapped or stranded on the island who seem to be evolving at a rapid rate, possible due to a rich diet of infant excreta, rotting hamburgers and dead fish (which are in great abundance around its coast). Some of the most striking new species are; the Pygmy Coconut Palm; the Venus Rattrap; the Yellow-weeping-wart Potato; the Flightless Albatross; the Club-footed Booby; Wai Pei Shell-less Crab; The Wia Pei Purple Glowing Cockroach; The Featherless Galapagos Finch and The Sabre-Toothed Rat.
It is expected that the United Nations will shortly complete the first draft of the Wia Peipie Treaty for signing by the World’s major nations. This will be the first treaty of its kind since the Antarctic Treaty of 1959. The treaties have in common the agreement that no country can lay claim to it or it’s natural resource: the bacteria streptococcus pamperlis. It will now be available for export to all countries to enable them to recycle their mountains of plastic waste into petroleum crude oil. Some leaders have hailed this breakthrough as providing humanity with a never ending circle of: oil-to-waste-to-oil-to-waste-to-oil.
This treaty did not come about without many troubles on the way. When the properties of streptococcus pamperlis were discovered it was quickly realised it would be a valuable property for any country laying claim to Wai Peipei. The USA argued it was theirs as part of the State of Hawaii, but Russia, China, Japan, Australasia , Canada, Indonisia, Equador and Chile all argued they had a claim to it as they all contributed garbage to make up the island. The threatened “Trash War” between the Eastern and Western Pacific nations was narrowly avoided when it was agreed all Pacific rim countries would get a share of the valuable royalties charged to the countries around the Atlantic and Indian Oceans for the use of the bacteria.
The non-Pacific-ring countries considered merging their waste mountains to form a island in the Mediterranean, but the logistics cost and time scale for culturing a similar bacteria made it uneconomical. Instead, in order offset the royalty costs, they agreed to pool their rubbish and ship it to Wai Peipei under the Treaty of United Refuse Delivery (T.U.R.D)
So now after twenty-one years, Wai Peipei has come of age and matured into a peaceful grey-brown island with a unique flora and fauna, providing humanity with a never ending supply of crude oil. What can be more natural than that?