Plastic nurdles are a serious marine pollution problem. Picture: SAAMBR

More than 7.2 tons of nurdles – the plastic pre-production pellets that washed out to sea in a storm three months ago – have since been collected from KwaZulu-Natal beaches.

This update – published in a joint report by the east coast Department of Environmental Affairs, Working for Coast, DRIZIT/RESOLVE Marine Group, and volunteer response co-ordinated through the KZN Waste Network – focused on the period between December 18 and January 7.

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“On the October 10, Durban experienced a catastrophic storm. A container ship in Durban Harbour was damaged and billions of little plastic pellets, nurdles, leaked into the ocean. It is estimated that around 49 tons (billions of pellets) of these nurdles are in our ocean.”

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They said: “To date, 1444.5 bags have been collected by all parties from 67 different locations in KZN.”

The Mercury