Nurdles On the Beach

Something constantly draws us to the beach. We love coming across unexpected finds such as sea glass, shells, or an occasional treasure.  We never heard of nurdles before and certainly did not expect to find them on a Port Elgin beach.

When we spotted the first tiny object we thought it was a piece of lake glass, but it was too regular.  Then we spotted a few other ones just like it.   What are these?

A bite test confirmed that this is plastic.

Why are there so many tiny plastic bits on the beach and what are they?

Naturally, we Googled.

Google said that these are nurdles.  What?

Nurdles are plastic pellets used in the manufacturing of other plastics and are shipped in great quantities all over the world.  They appear in great quantities on beaches everywhere and may relate to shipping mishaps such as train derailments and lost sea cargo.

Wildlife may think it’s food and studies of fish and birds’ stomach content confirms their presence in large numbers. Environmentalists are concerned.

We found this article about a concerned citizen that is trying to do his share and clean up some of this mess.  Archaeologists friends may want to check out the shovel this guy is using.  Test pitting and screening at the same time!

You can read more about some of the studies done on the subject in this article.  But more importantly, if you come across a stash of nurdles, try and collect as many as you can.  You can toss them in the trash or make a bean bag.  Your choice, but keep them away from the birds and the fish.

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28 thoughts on “Nurdles On the Beach

  1. petespringerauthor says:

    I’ve never heard of nurdles, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before. You have to admire that guy on the beach going through the sand all day long. It seems like an admirable thing to do, but I wonder if there is some more efficient way. How much ground could you cover in a day?

    • backroadsandotherstories says:

      I was thinking the same thing…it’s like moving a mountain. I don’t know how you could possibly clean up something like this! The ones we found were very far and few in between and it was easy to pick them up, but I can’t imagine sifting an entire beach. Especially since the next storm will deposit new ones on the beach. That’s really what prompted me to write about it; it’s just there with little awareness, and nt much that can be done for the fish and birds that are consuming it. So sad.

  2. Lookoom says:

    I wonder what will become of all this platic pollution that we know. Should it become just a stratum of history before it disappears. Just as there was the Bronze Age or the Iron Age, will we later be described as having lived in the Plastic Age?

  3. WanderingCanadians says:

    Ha, I love your curiosity to discover what those tiny objects on the beach were, including that you even bit down on it!! It breaks my heart to hear that wildlife mistake this stuff for food. I’m really hoping we start to move away from plastics and take better care of our planet.

  4. rkrontheroad says:

    So disturbing, plastics in the ocean and microplastics invading everything, including meat we eat (not me, I gave up meat many years ago). I agree with the nomenclature Plastics Age. I hope we can all survive it and start moving in the opposite direction environmentally. It’s a good time for that clip from The Graduate.

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