6 March, 2018 6 March, 2018

Are the Nurdles Nearly Done?

Nurdles, I thought we had put this topic to bed but alas the issue persists – sigh. All you got to do is kick down the Durban promenade on the shoelace express and you can see these lentil look-alikes dotting the waterline. Before we go any further with this, I thought I’d mention that this is not another post stressing the pertinence of cleaning up this mismanaged accident nor is it about the less than favourable impact nurdles pose to the marine environment, although these are both important. Lets rather take a more positive approach on this topic and talk about the progress that has been made to right this wrong. If you are however still a little foggy on the nurdle low down click here and here to get those unanswered questions, the rest of us can move on. 

So far an unimaginable amount of these precursors to plastic have been painstakingly plucked from their sandy confines.  To be more quantitative on this ‘unimaginable amount’ roughly 12.38 tons of nurdles have been collected. At roughly 40 nurdles per gram that’s almost 500’000’000, the saying not all heroes wear capes rings true here. Sadly, this represents merely a fraction of the 49 tons which fell into the sea last year. 

Despite communities and environmental organisations jumping on this mishap volunteering their time and rallying support on social media, the news cycle has moved on and interest has waned on 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.

CoastKZN are now displaying stats and data derived from these weekly reports. The site will be updated every week, 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. If you have yet to check out the site I encourage you to do so.

The focal areas, with regard to ‘hot nurdle zones’, are Sheffield, Port Dunford side of uMlalazi River mouth, Tinley Manor and Umvoti River north banks. Perhaps the hardest hurdle to conquer is continued support. It is easy for an individual to become complacent and feel disheartened when they see their efforts on Monday dashed when the return to the beach on Tuesday due to the fluctuating tide, the only advise we can give is keep trucking. Every nurdle removed could potentially save an aquatic life down the line.


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