Environmentalists in the Netherlands are asking state lawmakers to help them solve the problem of ‘nurdles’
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, SC (WCBD) – Plastic pellets called “nurdles” are threatening the health of local wildlife and waterways and now local advocates are working to bring about change.
“Nurdles are small plastic pellets and they are the feedstock for just about anything made of plastic,” said Andrew Wunderley, executive director of Charleston Waterkeeper. “So you mix together the basic chemicals that make up the plastic, then you turn it into a core and that little pellet is shipped around the world.”
Some nurdles don’t make it to their destination and end up polluting our waterways.
“Every time we watch,” Wunderley said. “Everywhere we look we find these pellets. We have done over 80 different locations, over 300 surveys and on average we find around 60 leads every 10 minutes.
And they can be deadly to local wildlife.
“It’s harmful to fish,” Wunderley said. “To birds, to other wild animals. But not only that, it can become more and more toxic over time. Plastic in the marine environment absorbs other contaminants that are in the water column, so those little pieces of plastic that are there become increasingly toxic over time.
Wunderley says there is currently a loophole that allows plastic manufacturers to pollute local waterways without any consequences.
Advocates like Sullivan’s Island Mayor Patrick O’Neil, whose city saw a major nurdle spill in 2019, are calling on state lawmakers to intervene.
“You see the Town of Sullivan’s Island taking real leadership by saying to the General Assembly, ‘Listen, we take this issue seriously. It is important for our community. We have taken action to keep the harbor clean and we need you to take action to help prevent these kinds of spills into our rivers and streams,” Wunderley said.
And the defenders also want your help.
“Contact your local representative and tell them you support Bill 596,” he said. “This will go a long way to ensuring the bill gets the attention it deserves in Colombia.”
Wunderley will make a presentation to Columbia state lawmakers on Tuesday to raise awareness about the issue.