Reports suggest when heavy winds were experienced in Hong Kong during a storm in July 2012, millions of tiny plastic pellets, which were the size of lentil fell off a freight ship. These particles also known as ‘nurdles’ eventually spread across the water in Hong Kong and thus also blanketed the shore, which was allegedly knee-deep.
The incidence thus recorded the presence of one of the greatest forms of pollution. Every year around 250,000 tons of nurdles are found in the ocean. A growing concern is shown by researchers who believe these could be mistaken by sea animals as food, such as fish eggs. Nurdles have been found by scientists within the digestive system of fish and birds. However, the health risk of nurdles on such species is yet unknown.
Nurdles are also used by manufacturing companies in production of virgin plastic. Since these particles are small in size, about 2-5 millimeters in diameter, they can be easily transported and can also be molded into plastic products such as containers, phone cases or even car parts. However, nurdles impose the risk of spilling on the way and hence can be transported to nearby waterways.
One such incidence was observed in Pennsylvania. A semi mini truck crashed on a highway, as a result, piles of nurdles were found in the Sullivan’s beach island near South Carolina.
As a result of which, researchers have increasingly warned the public to wash their fish before consuming.