UN seeks solutions for unregulated plastic nurdles killing marine life

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The UN is seeking plans to help combat pesky, unregulated microplastics known as nurdles that are killing marine life and harming the environment. Chances are you’ve seen nurdles on a beach, along a river, or even just about anywhere. Nurdles are small, round, off-white, and lentil-sized.

Source: TED-Ed/Youtube

A nurdle is a small, lightweight plastic pellet that is the building block of almost all plastic products. Nurdles are produced from natural gas or oil and shipped to plastic factories around the world. They are melted down and poured into molds for things like Bottles of water, food packagingauto parts, medical devices and countless other products.

Now maritime authorities are considering strict controls on the transport of plastic pellets, also known as nurdles, after numerous spills around the world. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has asked pollution experts to examine the options available to reduce “the environmental risk associated with shipping plastic pellets (nurdles)”.

Billions of nurdles pollute waterways each year due to accidental spills during production and transportation of the tiny pieces. Environmental activists aren’t the only ones who want tougher rules. Insurance companies are also calling for stricter shipping and storage rules due to the financial and environmental cost of spills.

We use countless billions of nurdles every year, but many end up washing up on our shores. According to a comprehensive report on stopping ocean plastic pollution, researchers found that approximately 200,000 metric tons of nurdles end up in the oceans each year. The pearls are so light, only about 20 milligrams each, that they can easily be blown away by the wind. According to the Nurdle Hunt, almost 230,000 tons of nurdles pollute our oceans every year, that’s billions and billions of nurdles.

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