Silverdale nurdles

September 26th, 2019
Photograph of litter at the Cove, Silverdale, by Alan Ferguson.
Photograph of litter at the Cove, Silverdale, by Alan Ferguson.

Nurdles are pre-production plastic pellets (about the size of a lentil) and of many different colours. These are shipped around the world by the plastics industry and turned into plastic products. Unfortunately these, along with our general plastic waste, are often lost or dumped at sea, and being less dense than water they get washed up on our beaches. Due of their low density they tend to work their way to the surface of the sand, and are caught by the wind and blown anywhere they can lodge anbove the high tide point, such as above a storm tide shingle ridge, or the vegetation behind the beach.

The scale of the pollution at The Cove, Silverdale is so great that it’s looking likely that that nothing can be done. Indeed the problem has been reported all over the world, with logging programs in the US and Scotland:

Science vs. plastic nurdles the Gulf of Mexico citizen science project ‘Nurdle Patrol’.

Fidra – tackling nurdle pollution at source the ‘Great Nurdle Hunt’ was set up in 2014 to track pellet pollution around the local beaches of the Firth of Forth, but has since spread to become a global citizen science project.

As a means of measuring how many are involved I took a sample with a garden auger took it home and 3 hrs of washing the woody bits out resulted in the photo below!

Photograph of the plastics separated out from a single auger sample from the Cove at Silverdale, by Alan Ferguson.

A Morecambe Bay survey would give an indication of how common that situation is locally – so if you have a few hours to spare after your walk on the beach, why not take a sample, as I have done above, and report your findings back?

You can also report your findings directly to Findra at https://www.nurdlehunt.org.uk/

Alan Ferguson

Posted in Beach Clean, litter