Nab some nurdles and help save Durban's beaches

uShaka Sea World is calling on all Durbanites to head to our beaches and help clear up a potential environmental hazard following the recent storm.

Currently, according to uShaka Sea World’s education director Jone Porter, the beaches are infested with billions of small plastic pellets known as nurdles.

uShaka Sea World staff lead by example, helping to collect nurdles on uShaka beach. (Image: uShaka Sea World)

These plastic pellets have landed on the beaches as a consequence of last week’s storm and extremely rough seas.

Each small granule is half-moon shaped. The specific particles that have washed up on Durban beaches are actually an industrial raw material. They are usually remelted and moulded in factories to make plastic products. In themselves, they are not harmful.

However, the bad news is that these plastic pellets or nurdles do absorb pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (a class of man-made organic chemicals) and organochlorine pesticides which are extremely harmful to both marine life and humans, if consumed.

Nurdles never disintegrate but merely break down into smaller and smaller fragments. Both the nurdles and the toxins they have absorbed can enter the food chain as they are eaten by fish and other marine animals.

A close-up of a handful of nurdles for easy identification. (Image: uShaka Sea World)

In light of this serious threat, uShaka Sea World is not only asking residents to help clean these harmful nurdles off our beaches but is also providing clearly labelled bins at collection points into which beach goers can deposit any nurdles collected.

“Thousands of hands are needed to collect these along the drift line over the next few days. So, take nets, sieves, colanders, spades and buckets, go down at low tide and try and clear as much of it as you can while it is still new. It makes for a little workout while enjoying a fun outing but will go a long way towards minimising the long-term damage to our beaches and marine environment. If we all work together, we can help clean these nurdles off our beaches,” says Porter.

Drop-off points for nurdles are uShaka Marine World ticketing office, Surf Riders restaurant, Afros restaurant, Wedge Beach Lifeguards and California Dreaming restaurant. uShaka Sea World will collect the nurdles for safe disposal.

Members of the public pitch in to help clear the beach of nurdles. (Image: uShaka Sea World)

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