Residents Scramble As Nurdles Invade Spanish Beach

[Not the beach mentioned in the story] (Photo by Yuri CORTEZ / AFP) (Photo by YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Julianna Frieman Contributor
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Residents of a northwest Spanish community scrambled as millions of nurdles invaded a beach in December.

Small plastic pellets, known as nurdles, washed up on Galicia shores after falling out of a shipment charter vessel handled by the Danish shipping company Maersk, CBS News reported Wednesday. Bags of nurdles are used for producing food-grade packaging and water bottles, according to the outlet.  (RELATED: Bottled Water Contains 100 Times More Plastic Than Previously Believed, Study Shows)

The ship “lost six Maersk containers overboard in deep sea off the Galician coast in Spain,” the spokesperson said Dec. 8, according to the outlet. The missing containers were “immediately reported” to Spain and Portugal when they went overboard on the trip from Algeciras to Rotterdam, the spokesperson added.

“No crew members were injured in the incident, and the vessel was able to continue its journey to Rotterdam,” the spokesperson reportedly said. “The cause of the container loss is still being investigated.”

The company did not own the ship, however they were tasked with handling the containers, CBS News noted.

The Great Nurdle Hunt, an environmental group, said that nurdles are the “second largest source of primary microplastic pollution globally,” according to the outlet. Nearly 983 million pounds of plastic pellets pollute the environment annually, the outlet reported.

“Once in the environment nurdles are extremely difficult to clean up,” the group said on its website. “They can easily be blown or washed into drains and carried out to sea, or spilt directly into the sea from transport ships. Once in the sea, currents can carry the nurdles around the world. There is no practical way of removing all nurdles from the environment.”