Invasion of the killer nurdles

Just when we thought Hong Kong had all the mayhem it could handle with illegal trellises, plagues of Mainland locusts, the fiercest typhoon in a decade, sweltering temperatures, record-breaking air pollution, government ministers’ wives’ companies’ subdivided apartments and Maoist ‘national education’ brainwashing for kids, the city is buried in a tidal wave of 28.6 trillion tiny plastic balls washed up on shorelines after falling off a ship during the aforementioned tempest.

The things are technically called nurdles or, more charmingly, mermaids’ tears; they are readily available (20 tons minimum order) and are used to make things like bottles. The amount reaching Hong Kong’s beaches is probably just a small fraction of the total quantity released, which itself is of course a tiny percentage of the plastic junk already floating around in our long-suffering planet’s oceans. So all you can really do is give the volunteers sweeping them up a pat on the back, wait for the rest of the pellets to get washed or blown away and leave it at that.

But that wouldn’t be any fun. What activists on our outlying islands want is environmental devastation to put on YouTube. Ladies and gentlemen: the Great Hong Kong Plastic Disaster of 2012, complete with doom-laden music. They are also demanding the immediate establishment of a Tiny Plastic Ball Early Warning System, so the city can prepare its defences against future inundations of pellets. The campaigners concede that the things are not radioactive, explosive or even poisonous – in fact, these are the most boring tiny plastic balls ever devised by mankind. The things are so inert that even middle-class Discovery Bay housewives will go to the beach and clean them up. However, apparently they act like a sponge and soak up nasty chemicals like insecticides and carcinogens. Which sounds like a good thing but of course isn’t. Officials have been sent out to Lantau and Cheung Chau to squat on beaches, roll a few pellets carefully between the fingers and look very serious.

And the trauma continues. According to the radio this morning, the government is warning well-intentioned beach-sweepers: if you feel a sort of crunching beneath your feet as you wade through the white plastic drifts, that’ll be rare, new-hatched baby turtles you’re stepping on (the sort you see on TV nature shows struggling valiantly to reach the sea). Whatever calamity can strike the Big Lychee next?

Maybe here’s a clue…

Thought for the day (as we return to reality and note the Centa City property market index’s latest high last Friday): “Kevin Walsh, after retiring from the Board of the Federal Reserve last year, revealed that central banks are now influencing asset prices so heavily that investors are unable to ascertain market value.” (Henley Outlook investment newsletter)

Click to hear ‘The Eve of Destruction’ by the Turtles!

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15 Responses to Invasion of the killer nurdles

  1. Bela H Auden says:

    Discovery Bay.

    Plastic balls, plastic life.

    A bag flutters in the breeze.
    A bag catches your stroke in the surf.

    National bird, national fish.

    Welcome to Hong Kong.

    (An extended Haiku)

  2. Headache says:

    At risk of encouraging him, I quite liked Bela’s contribution today.

  3. stanley gibbons says:

    @ Headache. Don’t encourage or feed George – his ego knows no bounds. He already needs a set of tyre levers to get his balding ginger noggin through the doorway of his Stanley passion pad.

  4. pcrghlll says:

    Aware of his inability to be amusing, he consoles himself by being annoying. It’s a sad state of affairs.

  5. Real Tax Payer says:

    WHO or why, or which, or what,
    Is the Bela of SWAT?

    Is he Aussie or Yank or Brit or SCOTT ?
    When he craps does he sit on the loo-seat or SQUAT ?
    The Bela of SWAT

    Is he wise or foolish, young or old?
    Does he drink his beer and his coffee cold, or HOT?
    The Bela of SWAT

    When he writes daily splurge in round-hand size,
    Does he cross his T’s and finish his I’s with a DOT?
    The Bela of SWAT

    Do readers like him extremely well?
    Or do they think “ go to hell ” or worse .…or WHAT?
    Re the Bela of SWAT

    If he thinks RTP speaks with spiteful tongue
    Would he have him chopped in pieces or hung … or SHOT?
    The Bela of SWAT

    Does he study the wants of his own dominion?
    Or doesn’t he care for public opinion a JOT ?
    The Bela of SWAT

    I could continue this rhyme for a very long time,
    If I so decide, but I think better NOT
    Re the Bela of SWAT

    Some one, or nobody, knows I WOT
    Who or which or why or what
    Is the Bela of SWAT

  6. stanley gibbons says:

    @RTP. Stop that. It’s George the ginger whinger. End of.

  7. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Stanley G

    Is his name John, George, Paul or Ginger?
    Is he a whiner, a wimp or a whinger?
    The Bela of SWAT


    Sorry – that just flowed off the tip of my tongue and I couldn’t resist the encore 😉

  8. Headache says:

    Ok then, let’s get away from Bela who is probably enjoying all this attention way too much.

    Back to the issue du jour, here’s a better report than Hemmers’ (gasp!) on the subject.

  9. Stephen says:

    @Stanley Gibbons

    George Adams and his NTSCMP had its moments – admittedly it was a long long time ago.

    When’s the Kwok trial I’m bored ?

  10. stanley gibbons says:

    RTP – you are moronic.

  11. stanley gibbons says:

    …and I’m afraid it’s chronic.

  12. No soup for you !! says:

    @pcrghll : shouldn’t you be on AsiaXpat, impersonating distressed Asian women searching for a husband ?

  13. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    Didn’t Hemlock once post a link to an AsiaXpat lady who was asking which escalators to stand at during her lunch break to attract investment bankers?

    Such are the dire straits of investment banking these days that I see few women malingering at the bottom of our escalators on my lunch break.

  14. williambanzai7 says:

    How do they taste with wanton noodles?

  15. Vile says:

    No-one mixes wonton and nurdles in their noodles, it’s one or the other. The taste depends on how much MSG you add, same as everything else.

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