Overstrand Municipality has asked members of the public to be on the lookout for any nurdles that may be found along our coastline and to report sightings to help track the movements of these potentially lethal little beads.
The tiny pellets of plastic - known as nurdles - were first reported on the Gansbaai shoreline on 26 October, barely a week after vast quantities initially washed up on Durban’s shores. This, after two shipping containers housing 49 tons of nurdles pitched off a Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) vessel that broke its moorings and collided with another ship in Durban Harbour. The containers and packaging ruptured, effectively ejecting hundreds of millions of nurdles into the sea.
According to Overstrand’s Environmental Department, nurdles were spotted on Grotto and Voëlklip Beaches as well. “Thus far we have only had a few reports of them washing up on our coast.
However, the shoreline is currently being monitored by not just South African Shark Conservancy (SASC), but also other Cape Whale Coast Hope Spot members including Dyer Island Conservation Trust and the Municipality,” confirmed Environmental Officer Tarron Dry.
“SASC does a weekly sampling check and is furthermore in communication with the Abalone farms in the area, asking them to check their filtration systems for any nurdles,” he added.
The pesky little critters never go away. Nurdles are harmful to animals which often mistake them for food. Not only are they toxic, but they cannot be digested – with a dire end result of digestive blockages, starvation and eventual death.
Moreover, the worn-down micro-fragments block filter feeders and clog respiratory gills. They look just like fish eggs, which impacts birds as well as marine animals.
Should you encounter these nurdles, please contact SASC on 028 312 3029 or Dyer Island Conservation Trust on 082 907 5607 and remember to mention exactly where they were found.