What are Nurdles?

Whilst some beaches are particularly prone to a plastic tide and others appear pristine, there is one thing that all beaches have in common – nurdles. These little plastic pellets are found all over the world, including remote islands otherwise completely untouched by humans. In the UK, Tregantle beach in Cornwall is one of the worst I’ve seen. Join me there in the video below, where I ask the question; what are nurdles?

So how do nurdles get into the sea? Well as so many things are made from plastic these days, nurdles are transported around the world in their billions and get ‘misplaced’ into our oceans. This can happen directly by shipping containers going over board (such as the MSC Napoli off the coast of Devon), or indirectly via waterways from the manufacturers.

This is bad news for wildlife as they are readily mistaken as food by animals that feed in the marine environment – including fish, birds and whales. The scary thing is that this all lead back us. Most people today have microplastics dissolved in their bodies. Remember that plastic didn’t exist three generations ago – so right now there are studies investigating how they concentrate toxins and the effect on our health. Something to think about next time you’re enjoying a bowl of mussels or your friday night fish & chips!

The amount of these plastic pellets in our environment isn’t going to go down – unless we do something about it. There are some fantastic cleanup and plastic-free initiatives trending at the moment, such as the Great Nurdle Hunt, #2minutebeachclean, Zero Waste shops and ‘plogging’ (picking up litter whilst you exercise)! So get involved and spread the word!

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