Nurdle Hunting at Muttonbird Beach

@thewiseinventor with his transect

Have you heard of nurdles?

We went hunting for them on a local beach yesterday. It was our second hurdle hunting trip. It's amazing how many small pieces of plastic there are washed up on our beaches when you take a real close look

Nurdles are small plastic pellets, slightly smaller than a lentil. They are the raw material used for the manufacture of plastic products and there a billions of them in the sea.

nurdles with a match showing size
Nurdles- photo credit Operation Clean Sweep Australia
They are a hazzard to sea life because they look like food such as fish eggs. In addition to that they actually absorb toxins from the water, so our sea life is then not only eating plastic, but a cocktail of nasty chemicals too.

There has been several nurdle spillages over time, but a major hurdle spill in Durban in October 2017, saw almost 50 tonnes of them enter the ocean as two forty foot containers fell into the water during a storm.

These nurdles have been washing up on the WA shores over the past few months. Dr Harriet Paterson from UWA has been studying them, both on the beaches and in the stomachs of dead sea birds, and this weekend was the second time we have been out nurdle hunting with Harriet though the Young Naturalists Club.

The site for our hunt yesterday was at the eastern end of Mutton bird beach. Each group made a 1m x 1m transect using string and set to work hunting for plastic pieces of all kinds. Due to the toxicity, we were given spoons to pick them up with.

Two nurdles at the front of the spoon
Once we had collected the plastic from our transect we took it to Harriet who had a great experiment to group the plastics, by measuring their density using liquid of different density to see if they floated or sank.

Measuring the density of plastics

We enjoyed the hunt and will nurdle hunt again for sure.

The dogs had a great time too

Hello, and thanks for stopping by. My name is Emma and I am a lifestyle entrepreneur, writer, teacher, coach and mentor. I am passionate about eating real food, learning, travel and health. I get to spend my days with my amazing son who has chosen to learn from the world rather than at school. We write to share the life we love and to help others create a life they love too.

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