By now almost all of you, who can, have been down to the beaches at some point over the last week collecting nurdles. There are still billions of these lentil sizes plastic “pellets” on the beaches from as far north as Richards Bay to Mbotyi, Eastern Cape in the south.

uShaka Marine World is calling on all Durbanites to head to their beaches and help clear up a potential environmental hazard following the recent storm.

Currently, according to uShaka Sea World’s Jone Porter, the beaches are infested with billions of small plastic pellets known as nurdles.

These plastic pellets have landed on the beaches as a consequence of last week’s storm and the extremely rough seas. Each small granule is half-moon shaped. The specific particles that have washed up on Durban beaches are actually an industrial raw material. They are re-melted and molded in factories to make plastic products. In themselves, they are not harmful.

However, the bad news is that these plastic pellets or nurdles do absorb pollutants such as PCBs and organochlorine pesticides which are extremely harmful to both marine life and humans if consumed.

Nurdles never disintegrate but merely break down into smaller and smaller fragments. Both the nurdles and the toxins they have absorbed can enter the food chain as they are eaten by fish and other marine animals.

In light of this serious threat, uShaka Sea World is not only asking residents to help clean these harmful nurdles off our beaches but is also providing clearly labelled bins at collection points into which beach goers can deposit any nurdles collected.

The public response has been incredible so far. You as individuals, families and friends can urgently make a difference while the authorities deal with the legalities. The South African marine life is depending on you.

If you would like to be part of a group tackling uShaka Beach, they are meeting between 7am and 10am on Sunday morning (29th October) to collect as many nurdles as they can. Some of the very ingenious SAAMBR staff have come up with an effective way of removing the nurdles using shade cloth, or for the less muscular, buckets and kitchen sieves.

Please look at the infographic to help you prepare and head to the beach with your “buckets and spades”. You have a wonderful excuse to join children and play on the beach for an hour or more.

We urge you to please initiate nurdle clean-ups in your areas too. Please see a list of organisations who have offered to act as nurdle drop off points.

Outspan Inn, Port St Johns
Offshore Africa, Port St Johns
M&R Mechanical Workshop, South Port
Buccaneers, St Michaels, KZN South Coast
The Waffle House – Ramsgate
Aliwal Dive Centre, Aliwal Shoal
Durban Undersea Club Vetch’s Beach, Durban

uShaka Marine World – Ticketing

Afro’s South Beach, Durban
Circus Circus Cafe North Beach, Durban
California Dreaming – Durban Beachfront Restaurant Central Beach, Durban
Umhlanga Rocks Surf Lifesaving Club
Cabana Beach Resort Umhlanga – towel kiosk
Zinkwazi Skiboat Club
Umlalazi Nature Reserve Entrance Gate, Mtunzini