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03 Dec 2017

Nurdles- Four tons retrieved so far

The Mercury Picture: Plastic pellets, which are called 'nurdles', spilled along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline in October and pose a great danger to marine animals and birds.

More than four tons of plastic pellets – known as “nurdles” – have been recovered since an epic storm in October led to their disastrous spill in the Durban harbour.

More than four tons of plastic pellets – known as “nurdles” – have been recovered since an epic storm in October led to their disastrous spill in the Durban harbour.

The “nurdles”, said the MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company in a recent statement, were small, plastic pellets used in the manufacture of plastic bottles, buckets, children toys and paddling pool liners.

The shipping company said that they transported these pellets between the companies which made them and the companies that used them for manufactured goods.

Several bodies working on the clean-up – including the Department of Environmental Affairs – Working for Coast, DRIZIT / RESOLVE Marine Group, SAAMBR, KZN Waste Network and WILDOCEANS – said in a joint statement that the container ship had been damaged and “billions of little plastic pellets” leaked into the ocean.

“It is estimated that around 49 tons of these nurdles are in our ocean – an environmental disaster of epic proportions.”

They said: “To date, a total of 4.117 tonnes have been collected by all parties combined.”

This week, 340.5 bags of nurdles were collected from 15 different locations in KwaZulu-Natal including Amatikulu, Dokodweni, uMhlanga, North Beach and Umkomaas.

“Teams will continue to work along the KZN coastline actively collecting nurdles.”