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With the aftermath of the oil spill in Poole Harbour still being monitored, visitors and staff at Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Wild Seas Centre at Kimmeridge Bay are reporting a large amount of white nurdles, or tiny plastic pellets, which have been washed onto the beach.

Nurdles are the form of raw plastic that is transported to factories around the world to be moulded into a myriad of plastic products – anything from plastic bottles and bags to window frames and sunglasses. Unfortunately, they are regularly spilled from container ships into the sea or in factories where they are washed down drains. Nurdles are not harmless plastic beads but instead pose a real threat to marine wildlife. Often eaten by fish and birds, they accumulate in their stomachs causing feeding and digestion problems which can be fatal.
At the Wild Seas Centre, nurdles have been a focus of discussion for many years, with a nurdle o’meter clearly demonstrating the number of nurdles washing ashore. However, staff and visitors at the Centre have been shocked by the increasing amount of white nurdles washing up in the last few days.

Wild Seas Centre Officer, Julie Hatcher said
“For many years, we have encouraged visitors to hunt for nurdles and hand pick them from the beach to help protect the important beach and shoreline wildlife. However, the number of nurdles currently on the beach has been truly shocking. We don’t know where they have come from, but many people are collecting handfuls of them and bringing them to us for disposal.”

Apart from collecting and removing these tiny plastic pellets from beaches, people can take action against this type of pollution by avoiding single-use plastic and excessive packaging and by choosing items made from natural materials wherever possible.
Photo Credit: Julie Hatcher

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