UK Beaches Are Covered In Nurdles

By Holly Brockwell on at

Nearly three-quarters of UK beaches are bestrewn with nurdles, it turns out.

If you're wondering whether that's great news or terrible news, we're here to tell you: it's terrible news. Sorry.

Nurdles are little microplastic pellets that are used to make plastic products. They're really small - about the size of a pea or a lentil depending on the nurdle in question - and billions of them spill into UK rivers every year thanks to industry carelessness. From there, they soak up pollutants and spread them to the ocean, get eaten by hungry marine animals, and did we mention they never leave? They just break up into smaller pieces. Yay.

Image: Fidra

Unsurprisingly, this is becoming a pretty big issue. The BBC reports that a new survey of nearly 300 UK shorelines found 73% had been nurdled, with over 100,000 of the little buggers on a 100-metre stretch in Cornwall alone. The Great Nurdle Hunt involved 600 people who gave up one of their February weekends to - you guessed it - hunt for nurdles.

The hunt was co-ordinated by Scottish environmental charity and anti-nurdle body Fidra, who's working with the plastics industry's initiative Operation Clean Sweep to try and rid our beaches of plasticky pellets for good. We may not have known what they were until today, but it's good to know someone's finally doing something about all the nurdles. [BBC]

Main image: Great Nurdle Hunt via Facebook