While the clean-up of the nurdles along the Western Cape coastline continues, they are also reported to be washing up along the Eastern Cape coastline. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
While the clean-up of the nurdles along the Western Cape coastline continues, they are also reported to be washing up along the Eastern Cape coastline. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Eastern Cape coastline also affected by nurdle spill as Western Cape clean up continues

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Nov 17, 2020

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Cape Town - While the clean-up of the nurdles along the Western Cape coastline continues, they are also reported to be washing up along the Eastern Cape coastline.

This is according the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) which is leading the ongoing investigation, and said that the source of the nurdles is not yet confirmed. Samsa also said that these nurdles are not related to the spillage that took place in Kwazulu-Natal in 2017.

Nurdles are small plastic pellets used in the manufacture of plastic products. In the raw stage (pre-moulded and packaged) they are not toxic to touch, but shouldn’t be chewed given the unknown synthetics that make up the pellets.

However, once released into the marine environment they have a high attraction to harmful substances such as land-based pesticides, herbicides, other organic pollutants as well as heavy metals that end up in the ocean.

Samsa said that at this stage they are very harmful to life, especially to wildlife when mistaken for food.

“Authorities are working hard to address the nurdles recently washing up along certain regions of the south Western Cape coastline from Fish Hoek in False Bay to Goukamma Marine Protected Area and Plettenberg Bay.

“The nurdles are also reported to be washing up along the Eastern Cape coastline, the exact locations are still to be confirmed,” Samsa spokesperson Tebogo Ramatjie said.

“The authorities, including, the departments of Transport, Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, local authorities, NGOs and volunteer groups have all been working consistently to clean up nurdles washing up on beaches.

“While the investigation into the source of the nurdles is being undertaken, SpillTech has been appointed to assist and conduct clean-up efforts along the affected sections of coastline,” Ramatjie said.

Spilltech will also be storing the nurdles collected through clean-up efforts and are working with authorities, NGOs and volunteer groups to identify collection points and arrange the pick-up of nurdles.

“The extent of the clean-up operation is significant and is anticipated that the removal of nurdles from the affected coastline will continue for some time to come.

“The authorities and NGOs look forward to working with SpillTech as the lead agent for the duration of cleanup-operations,“ Ramatjie said.

Spilltech can be contacted on 063 404 2128 for information on collection points and pick up of collected nurdles.

Cape Argus

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