Thursday, 6 September 2012

Plastic Nurdle spill – Nurdles still in the environment

During Typhoon Vicente which hit Hong Kong on 23 July 2012 a container ship near Hong Kong lost 7 x 40 foot containers. Six of these containers were each loaded with 1000 x 25 kilogram bags of Plastic Nurdles (pre-production Plastic Pellets). Five of these containers have since been located. All of them had lost some or most of their contents.

These bags and loose Nurdles started washing up on Hong Kong beaches soon afterwards. The majority of Nurdles which washed up on our shores were recovered during a massive volunteer cleanup operation which was initiated immediately after the spill.

Because Typhoon Vicente occurred during a high tide accompanied by a mini storm surge, many loose Nurdles were pushed high up into the rocky shores, coastal undergrowth and seawalls in Hong Kong.

These will slowly be flushed out of these locations by rainstorms, high tides and tropical storms and continue to wash up on our beaches in ever decreasing numbers for many months to come.

The following photographs were taken on 6 September 2012 to illustrate the problem.

Sea wall at Nim Shue Wan, Discovery Bay.

Nurdles trapped high in the sea wall at Nim Shue Wan.

Rocks on shoreline at Nim Shue Wan.

Nurdles trapped high in rocks on shoreline at Nim Shue Wan.

Rocks on shoreline at Sam Pak Wan, Discovery Bay.

Nurdles trapped in rocks on shoreline at Sam Pak Wan.

Rocky coastline at Sam Pak Wan.

Pockets of Nurdles at top of high tide line on rocky coastline at Sam Pak Wan.

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