The big problem with a silly name...

There is a type of man-made debris on our beach, especially in the strandline, that many beach users will never have notices, yet forms a large proportion of marine pollution.


Nurdles are small pellets, about 3 to 5 millimetres in diameter, that are melted during plastic manufacturing. They find their way into our seas (washed down drains, spilt from containers during shipping accidents etc.) and inevitably end up on our beaches.


VMCA volunteers, working with BeachCare, conducted a survey to assess the volume of nurdles at Polzeath in April 2011. To minimise disruption to the strandline habitat, pellets must be collected by hand, and nearly 2,500 nurdles - were gathered in half an hour from a 10 metre stretch of strandline. Globally, the problem is vast: some research suggests that in parts of the ocean, nurdles greatly outnumber plankton. It is not difficult to see how birds, and other marine life mistake these objects for food, choking to death on them and/or leaching harmful chemicals into the broader food chain - including the fish some of us choose to consume.


At a local level we hope to raise awareness of marine pollution in general, and where we can, tackle the problem directly via regular beach cleans. Addressing the broader problem specifically presented by nurdles is something we will be working on in the coming months and years.

Great Winter Nurdle Hunt 2017 results...

For those of you who took part in the Great Winter Nurdle Hunt the results are in... Click for a downloadable pdf (TGWNH_Results.pdf), and visit for more information. The information gained from this nurdle hunt is being submitted as part of a detailed consultation response to the UK Government, and will be available on the DEFRA consultation website soon.


Next time you are at Polzeath...

Come and get a litter picker and bucket, or do a two minute beach clean (board outside surf's up) to do your bit helping to keep our beach beautiful and plastic-free. 


Nurdles are pre production plastic pellets see and they are washed up on all beaches of the world. Last year (2011) in one session at Polzeath we collected over 2000.

When you are next at Polzeath see how many you... and your children/family/friends can collect. Place the nurdles in a bag or envelope, with your name and contact number and drop through the letter box at the Marine Centre.


Happy nurdling and litter-picking folks...

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Polzeath Marine Conservation Group