Nurdle Overload

Beautiful Whitsands Bay is in the South East of Cornwall, since it is very close to Plymouth, I visit regularly. I often find plastic, and rubbish on the beach here, but I have never seen it like this before.

 

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Jen and Hannah walking near Whitsands bay in Cornwall, UK

When Jen and I headed to the beach on Sunday 19th February, originally to collect sea glass for making jewellery, we were amazed to see it completely covered in plastic pellets (or Nurdles as they are often called) and other small pieces of plastic. Every strand line on the beach was littered with black and grey plastic pellets; at first they were disguised, and looked like small rocks, but with closer inspection it was clear that the beach was covered in Nurdles.

 

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Rock pools full of Nurdles!

The sheer amount of these tiny round pellets was overwhelming, there was no way two people could collect all of these, and it would be nearly impossible without also collecting tonnes of stones and sand.

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A bag full of Nurdles and micro plastics, but there were still thousands on the beach!

Soon we started filling our bags (originally designed to be filled with sea glass!), but despite both collecting all we could, we only removed about 5% of what was on the beach.

 

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The large, small and pellet plastics collected at Whitsands Bay on 19/02/2017

 

Since the Great Nurdle Hunt last weekend, the presence of these plastic pellets on UK beaches has received large amounts of media attention. Seeing a beach completely covered in micro plastics makes me feel sick and completely overwhelmed; imagine, if this many are present on one little beach in Cornwall, how much must be floating around our oceans.

These plastic pellets are often confused with fish eggs, and are consumed by other fish,  once in the stomach they will make their way up the food chain. Additionally, plastic acts as a sponge to chemicals, and thus takes these chemicals on the journey up the food chain, eventually these plastics and chemicals accumulate in large fish and marine mammals!

The solution to this problem is to tackle the source, stop plastic getting into the environment and for humans to reduce our plastic consumption. Plastic should be treated as a precious, finite resource, not disposable and cheap!

 

 

A thank you from the North Sea

There was so much plastic on East Sands beach today I had to stop my run and collect it! Luckily the sea had washed up a large fishing tub that I could use.

 

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A tub full of plastic collected on just a small part of East Sands beach

 

When the rain started getting harder and the tub was almost too heavy to drag, I reached down to collect one last crisp packet….and underneath the bag was this:

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A sea glass bottle stopper! The first one I have ever found! I think it was the North Sea’s way of saying thank you!

 

Not such a ‘HAPPY MEAL’!!!

Whitsands Bay – Cornwall, UK

Walking down the cliff to Whitsands bay

Whitsands bay is in south east Cornwall, just over the Tamar river from Plymouth. A beautiful sandy beach sits beneath huge cliffs and the beach is only accessible at low tide, because of this any plastic left on the beach will be swept away by the high water. After spending the weekend at the bay, I went for a short walk with my dog on Monday evening. I was so disgusted by the amount of plastic washed up on the beach that I had to run back up the cliff to get a few bin bags and another pair of hands!

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The plastic had all been washed up to the base of the cliffs on the last spring tide.

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A few of the branded products we found.

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We managed to collect 3 full bin bags in 30 minutes!

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The hardest part was carrying all the bags up the cliffs, but we had help from Elmo the dog….

It is very satisfying to leave a beach having cleared so much rubbish and it makes it even more worthwhile when you can also collect some sea gems!

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