Coast KZN

03 Mar 2018

Nurdle update 11 tons collected thus far

Allan Troskie (North Coast Courier) Picture: Ntombifikile Cibane, Lizeka Nozibhija, Vuyelwa Maciko, Vennancia Qulu and Bukiwe Nha-Nha (back) from DRIZIT Environmental sifting for nurdles on one of Sheffield's beaches last week.

Fresh recharge on many beaches is still evident, with Sheffield beach reportedly having the heaviest recharge of nurdles locally.

The nurdle crisis that has swamped KZN’s coastline in plastic may be old news to you, but it as dangerous as ever for the marine environment.

To date, a total of 11.721 tons of nurdles have been collected of the 49 tons which fell into the sea off a Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) vessel in Durban port during a storm in October last year.

Despite an early rush of community sentiment that saw residents volunteering their time at the beach to help with the cleanup, the news cycle has moved on and interest has waned in this ecological disaster.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), Department of Environmental Affairs, Transnet National Ports Authority, KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Mediterranean Shipping Company and South African Local Government Association have been meeting regularly since the spill and appointed DRIZIT Environmental to spearhead the clean-up operations on the coast.

Meanwhile, CoastKZN are now displaying stats and data pulled from these weekly reports. This will be updated weekly, and contain interactive timeline maps, survey forms to complete when the general public are collecting nurdles, and general information around the nurdle spill and clean-up.

CoastKZN are working closely with Wildoceans nurdle coordinators and will remain the data collation hub. Visit for this information and more.

They are also currently distributing 300 nurdle bins, clearly marked, at various collection points along the coastline. This updated collection list is available on CoastKZN’s website,

Last week, DRIZIT continued focusing efforts in areas where high densities of nurdles have been reported, especially Sheffield, Port Dunford side of uMlalazi River mouth, Tinley Manor and Umvoti River north banks.

Fresh recharge on many beaches is still evident, with Sheffield beach reportedly having the heaviest recharge of nurdles locally.

According to EDTEA’s Omar Parak, DRIZIT have changed their planning strategy to a more short-term basis, where instead of planning to deploy teams weekly, they will do it daily, for the following day.

The same size teams will now be more strategically placed to effectively reach more remote beaches. This is due to the constant moving around and recharge on many beaches. The only site where crews will remain, and product has been continuously re-appearing is the Dokodweni/Hatchery lagoon.