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The City of Cape Town’s Environment Management Department says that there has been a sudden increase in nurdles at Cape beaches over the last two weeks. 

Nurdles are the small pellets of plastic that is used in the primary stage of the manufacturing of products made from plastic.

“Nurdles never disappear or disintegrate, they just break down into smaller pieces and can be harmful to animals which mistake them for food. If swallowed by marine species they can cause blockages, starvation and death,” says the City’s Mayco member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Marian Nieuwoudt.

The affected beaches include Glencairn, Fish Hoek, Kommetjie, Millers Point, Muizenberg and Scarborough.

People are asked to follow these steps to help the City get rid of nurdles:

  • Take a bucket along to the beach
  • Scoop seawater into the bucket
  • Collect handfuls of nurdles and place in the bucket of seawater – the nurdles will float to the top
  • Scoop the nurdles off the top with your hands or a sieve, and place in another container
  • Label your container with the date and the beach you collected it from

The nurdles can be taken to the following collection points:

  • Muizenberg – Shark Spotters Info Centre at Surfers Corner
  • Fish Hoek – the Shark Spotters’ cabin on the beachfront
  • Kommetjie Surf Shop – Unit 3, Swan Lodge, Kommetjie or
  • Contact Pristine Earth Collective to arrange for collection or delivery

The nurdles will be taken to a plant in Blackheath, where they will be recycled for building materials.