Plas­tic pest is harm­ing our birds

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

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

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