Coast KZN

27 Oct 2018

Durban nurdles are ‘emigrating’ to Australia

Duncan Guy (Independent on Saturday) Picture: Plastic nurdles are a serious marine pollution problem. (Photo: SAAMBR)

Durban’s nurdles are heading across the Indian Ocean and could arrive in Western Australia next winter.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) website reported that the University of Western Australia was calling for volunteers to participate in “Nurdle November”, cleaning the beaches of plastic pellets.

The Durban nurdles, according to the report, leave a distinct chemical fingerprint, which makes them traceable. The nurdles fell off a ship during the October 10 storm last year.

“The thing that’s interesting with the Durban nurdles we know who manufactured them, who shipped them, we know where they were lost, so we can trace it back and start asking questions about, you know, who is responsible for cleaning up?” the story quoted university nurdle project leader Harriet Paterson saying.

Her project aims to work out the extent of the nurdle problem and who is responsible for letting them loose.

But the bulk are expected only next year.

“We tend to get fewer plastics over summer because I think it’s the easterly winds, they move plastics offshore.

“But next winter, when the south-westerlies start again, I think they’re going to be certainly coming ashore then.”

About 20 tons of nurdles have been collected during a clean-up campaign in KwaZulu-Natal. This is estimated to be a third of the total that fell into the sea.