Despite a massive response from the public to an appeal by uShaka Sea World to collect plastic nurdles from the beaches up and down the coast from Durban, billions of these lentil-sized plastic “pellets” remain on beaches from Richards Bay in the north to Mbotyi in the Eastern Cape province.
uShaka Sea World is once again calling on all Durbanites and visitors to head to our beaches and help clear up a potential environmental hazard following the recent storm.
If you would like to be part of a group tackling uShaka beach or any other beach close to you, we are meeting between 7am and 10am on Sunday morning, 29 October, to collect as many nurdles as possible.
The risk lies in nurdles’ ability to 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.
Some ingenious SAAMBR staff members have come up with an effective way of gathering the nurdles using shade cloth, or, for the less fit, using buckets and kitchen sieves.
See a video demonstration on how to apply both methods here.
These are the organisations and businesses that have offered to act as nurdle drop-off points:
Public response has been hugely encouraging so far, as individuals, families and friends gather on the beaches over the weekends and in their spare time to make a difference while the authorities deal with the legalities. Keep it up – South African marine life is depending on you!