Tuesday, 18 April 2017

What's your plastic footprint? ............................................... What's your nerdle count?

Last week, we had a beach-clean in this part of Devon:
Futures Forum: What's your plastic footprint? ... Surfers against Sewage beach clean in Sidmouth

In fact, these were happening across the county:

Watch as the environment minister sieves for nerdles at Croyde

PUBLISHED: 17:23 06 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:23 06 April 2017

During a visit to North Devon environment ministerThérèse Coffey MP talked Marine Conservation Zones at Saunton and dropped in on a beach clean at Croyde

The Government’s environment minister turned out at Croyde today (Thursday) to help out at a beach clean.
Thérèse Coffey MP offered a helping hand to Surfers Against Sewage’s Big Spring Beach Clean – an annual event to clean up beaches nationwide and encourage more single-use plastic to be recycled. She joined SAS staff and volunteers plus Croyde beach ranger Rose Roberts to do a bit of sand sieving to find ‘nerdles’, tiny plastic balls that are polluting oceans in their millions.
She said: “I’m really pleased to see communities from across Devon coming together for such a great cause. Our beaches are enjoyed by millions of people  Not only is this event helping to improve our beaches and protect our wildlife, it’s encouraging people to reuse and recycle plastic wherever they can. The introduction of the 5p plastic bag charge was a great step forward and we remain committed to being the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it.”
Earlier the minister visited Clovelly and Saunton as well as Petroc in Barnstaple to talk about rural education and skills.
Hugo Tagholm, chief executive of Surfers Against Sewage, added: “We’re delighted to welcome the environment minister to the Big Spring Beach Clean to help in our effort to tackle marine plastic pollution and inspire more action to reduce society’s collective plastic footprint on the environment. We look forward to seeing the Government’s upcoming Litter Strategy and hope it will build on successful measures like the plastic bag charge. We’ll be recycling over 50,000 plastic bottles through the Big Spring Beach Clean and it would be fantastic to see new measures to help reduce the number we see around our coastline.”
Ms Coffey said she had ‘learned some new things’ during her visit and added that South West beaches in particular were faced with a number of challenges such as pollution, but she said: “But here we are with a bunch of people who are passionate about keeping these beaches clean. Surfers Against Sewage have been really proactive with this in trying to take direct action. It’s good to work with organisations that are trying to solve the problems.”
The Government says since the introduction of the 5p plastic bag charge, more than six billion bags have been taken out of circulation, reducing the number of bags found on beaches by nearly half. It will shortly be publishing a new Litter Strategy, which will include a range of measures to reduce litter and drive behaviour change.
During her trip to the South West, Minister Coffey also visited Saunton Sands beach to look at possible areas for the third tranche of the Government’s Marine Conservation Zones to protect important species and marine habitats around our coast.
Government has already protected nearly 8,000 square miles of important marine habitats, with the total number of MCZs in waters around England now 50.

Watch as the environment minister sieves for nerdles at Croyde - Breaking news & sport in Devon | North Devon Gazette

This is what nerdles are doing to our beaches:

Most British Beaches Found 

to Be Polluted With Deadly 


Christianna Reedy


Britain’s beaches are covered with with tiny — but potentially deadly — plastic beads. These beads, called  “nurdles,” were found on almost 75 percent of 279 UK beaches that were recently surveyed.
These colorful, lentil-sized pellets might go largely unnoticed by us beach bums, but they can cause damage to birds and fish who mistake them for lunch. Additionally, the toxic chemicals nurdles release as they degrade, such as bisphenol A and polystyrene, can harm wildlife native to oceans and seashores, according to a study reported in the Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Nurdles are used to make larger plastic objects and are notorious for falling off of cargo ships during transport. The plastic pelts have been estimated to make up 10 percent of the 165 million tons of plastic that is estimated to pollute our oceans.
Credit: Futurism
The survey (called “The Great Winter Nurdle Hunt”) was conducted by Brits who are eager to clean up their beaches. The volunteers who collected the most nerdles scoured Widemouth Bay, located in southern England, to find about 127,500 of the pellets on the 100-meter (328-foot) stretch of beach. All in all, the UK’s environment gets polluted with up to 53 billion nurdles every year, campaigners estimate.


Madeleine Berg of Fidra, a Scottish environmental charity that organized the survey, said in an interview to the BBC that the hunt demonstrated that the UK government needs to take action.
“Simple precautionary measures can help spillages and ensure nurdles don’t end up in our environment,” Berg said. “We are asking the UK government to ensure best practice is in place along the full plastic supply chain, and any further nurdle pollution is stopped.”
Plastic waste is not just a UK problem, but a global one that requires every nation to step up. In 2015, the United States passed a Bill banning the use of microbeads in FDA-approved products as a measure to protect US waterways. However, critics say more needs to be done to regulate plastic pollution and hold countries accountable for the environmental impact their waste has on other countries.
Recently, scientists declared a new geological age, one that is determined by the influence of humans, like the ones polluting our waters with plastic. The Anthropocene epoch is said to be a “new age of man,” signifying the intense influence human activity is having on the future geological record. At some point, we must ask ourselves – is this how we want to be remembered?

Most British Beaches Found to Be Polluted With Deadly Plastic

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