Plastic pest is harming our birds
WE have two fairly new members of staff from north of the border who informed me that they were spending a weekend hunting ‘nurdles’.
I went away to think about this for a while. Why would our marine officers be hunting noodles on a local beach? Was it a litter clearance of Pot Noodle containers?
Surely Pot Noodles aren’t as popular as they were when I first started work, when a pot and sandwich was my staple lunch. Things have improved since then.
I went back to Sally and Helen just to check we were singing from the same hymn sheet and I was almost right. They did say nurdles but the hunt was actually a litter clean-up.
Nurdles are tiny pieces of plastic, which look like lentils, which are melted when creating most of the plastic products we use every day. The problem is that as they are transported many escape.
They are now a major problem throughout the world, causing real hazards in our seas and particularly on the coast, where they are mistaken for food by seabirds.
Scottish Environmental Charity FIDRA, which is leading The Great Winter Nurdle Hunt, reported: “Post mortems of gulls, terns, fulmars, puffins and other animals in our seas have found nurdles in their stomachs.
“In the North Sea, 95 per cent of fulmars studied contained plastic – astonishingly 273 nurdles were recovered from one bird’s stomach.”
This is horrible and could mean starvation for these wonderful birds. Once again our untidiness is killing off the wildlife we claim to love.
I realise that most of us only see the coastline on holiday but the next time you are in Southport and Blackpool, keep a close eye out for clear, white or yellow nurdles on the beach. It will bring home just how bad the problem is and then you can spread the word to friends and colleagues.
The idea of the Great Winter Nurdle Hunt is to stress to plastic manufacturers that they should be taking a bit more care in dealing with these innocuous pellets. And the more all of us stresst th the d deadlydl i impactt of nurdles to our ‘decision makers’ the better we can take care of our wildlife.
Once you have become aware of the problem of nurdles, you can look at the problems of litter in your town and the countryside near to you.
This isn’t about being a raving mad environmentalist, it’s about protecting the beautiful and fragile wildlife all around us.
Two thoughts – imagine a death from horrific starvationt ti and di imaginei a world where many of our birds vanish because of our neglectful behaviour.
Join the Great Nurdle Hunt at nurdlehunt.org.uk.
To become a member of the Trust go to the website at www. lancswt.org.uk or call 01772 324129. For more information about Cheshire Wildlife Trust call 01948 820728 or go to cheshirewildlifetrust. org.uk.
Hunting for nurdles, pictured inset