As environmental groups push for legislation to label them as marine pollutants, more Nurdles have been discovered on beaches. They will be subject to stricter regulations during transport and handling.
Nurdles are small plastic pellets used by industry to produce almost all our plastic products. However, factory and cargo spillages can cause many to escape into the environment and end-up in the ocean.
They can have severe consequences for wildlife. They can absorb chemicals and then release toxins into the animals that eat them.
FIDRA’s Great Global Nurdle Hunt found record numbers of nurdles at beaches around the world this year.
Hunts took places in 317 locations across 23 countries. They were found in 90%. Indonesia was the only country that didn’t have any nurdles.
Limekilns lies 17 miles from Edinburgh. This village is among the most severely affected in the UK. You can find onlyles at the beach.
Sky News’ Joanna McFarlane is the chair of CLP Nature Conservation Group
“Sometimes it is possible to pull out the sand banks and only half the nurdles.
“The question is, who is responsible and why has no-one been held accountable for those harmful nurdles polluting our beaches right now?”
“We are asking why no one is responsible for the pollution we live with every day on our beaches. It’s being ingested by wildlife, children and even children. Who will take responsibility?
The environmental impact of nurdles is severe and can result in billions of dollars being released into the sea.
In 2021, a fire destroyed a ship off Sri Lanka. It’s estimated that 50 to 75 billion Nurdles ended-up in the sea. It’s the largest known spillage.
Megan Kirton from FIDRA was the project officer and stated to Sky News, “Besides looking awful on a beach, and smothering it in plastic, unfortunately many nurdles are mistakenly eaten by a lot more marine animals.”
“Animals such a seabird, fish, dolphins, and baby turtles all have been known to eat nurdles, as they can easily be mistaken for food.”
She claimed that animals feel full after eating nurdles and so don’t want to eat real food.
Ms. Kirton stated that “Once the nurdles have entered the environment, it’s nearly impossible to remove them so we need preventative action to stop the spread.”
FIDRA works with Fauna and Flora International, to push the International Maritime Organisation for legislation to formally label nurdles marine pollutants.
This would affect the way they’re handled and transported.
Tanya Cox of Fauna and Flora International is the senior technical specialist and said that they must be identified as pollutants due their “pervasive polluting nature”.
Ms. Cox said that at this time pellets aren’t classified in any way for sea movement.
“We need nurdles to be classified as marine pollutant so that they are packed more tightly, labelled clearly and communicated to ship operators about the presence of pellets so that they can be stored below deck in a more safe and appropriate way.