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Nurdles - the daunting beach cleanup

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Nurdles - the daunting beach cleanup

First, let's start with what is a "nurdle" -

A nurdle is a pre-production microplastic-pellet, a little smaller than the size of a pea. They make up the raw materials for the plastics industry. Unfortunately, millions (MILLIONS!!) find their way into the ocean. 

This morning I went down to the beach near our house, intending to surf and do a quick cleanup...only in the end, I didn't surf. 


We've been told that some of this debris hails from as far as the Caribbean, coming here via the currents. That's roughly 1,800 nautical miles away / 3,300 kilometers away.


The sun was out and the wind was cool, a perfect day for a light cleanup. The larger debris was the quick and easy of it. I spotted the sandal on a cliff within reach, everything else strewn down the beach.  Then I got down on my hands and knees and began the hunt for the smaller stuff - the nurdles and micro plastics. These aren't difficult to find for the most part. The waves come in and make a line of them  (when I was a boy, these lines running across the sand were crushed remnants of sea shells). So I follow these lines and it makes it easier, picking up one line at a time.

I finished the first line, then another, then moved up to a third. Tedious work, getting these little suckers, but gratifying, almost zen-like in contemplation. Then I turned around, and saw a brand new line of micro plastics in the area i just combed! I couldn't believe it!!

I can't explain how frustrated I felt. I had just spent an hour sifting the sand for these tiny-ass MF'S and now there was a whole new wave of them. Literally, with every wave came a new line of micro-f*king plastics! 

For a while, I just watched the waves, watched the new pieces of plastics wash up on our beaches. I was in a trance, and I thought about a future when not only the seashells, but the sand would be replaced by plastics.

I left with two large bags of debris and must have collected 200, 300 nurdles, who knows. It's easy to ignore something you can barely see, and most beach goers won't see them or even know to look. Fish don't either for that matter, and end up eating nurdles. And who eats the fish later? 

We really have to get rid of all plastics. ALL! That's my take away for today. That, and that I'll go surfing tomorrow, if the weather holds… 


For further reading, check this out:


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