Beach clean up

Doesn’t this look pretty?

Arrigunaga beach

The view is slightly less pretty when you look more closely. I took part in a beach cleanup event by Plastik Red on Saturday. They told me there was less plastic trash than usual but we still picked up this much in only two hours:

Plastic trash from Arrigunaga beach

In the pile there’s everything from lollipop sticks to a child car seat. I spent most of my time picking up tiny plastic pellets. I had never seen the like and the strandline was dotted with them. White, clear, gray, black, amber, yellow… I picked them up only to find that each new wave brought more.

Closeup of picked up plastic trash

Later I found out that the mysterious pellets are called nurdles. They are small plastic pellets that are used in manufacturing plastic products. Each year a large amount escapes and ends up polluting the waterways. Nurdles absorb pollutants and as they are small pellets they are easily eaten by marine life.

Not that nurdles are safe to eat even without added pollutants. The nurdles don’t decompose but fragment into smaller and smaller pieces. Cleaning them up after a spill is difficult, and pretty much impossible once they’ve fragmented into tiny tiny pieces.

Nurdles on strandline

If you get an urge to hunt for nurdles, there are instructions how to do it more effectively than picking them up one by one. You can share your nurdle findings online or check whether someone has found nurdles from a shore near you.