Whilst it is tempting to focus on the larger items of litter and waste on our beaches, if you look closely in the sand and seaweed, you will see lots of tiny pieces of plastic. Much of this is the residue of larger items; plastic bottles and packaging, etc, however you will notice there are also small plastic pellets. These are commonly known as Mermaids’ Tears.
As discussed by Surfers Against Sewage; “Mermaids’ tears, also known as resin pellets or nurdles, are used in the manufacturing of plastic products. We identified these plastic pellets as a major source of pollution on UK beaches, and our undercover work in plastic factories identified a route from plastic factories to the beach, via the storm drains.”
Unfortunately, when the tide comes in the Mermaids’ Tears float to the surface of the sea and are mistaken as food by marine life and birds. Obviously birds and marine animals cannot digest the plastic and they eventually starve from a belly full of plastic, with no room for food.
Find out more about nurdles at The Great Nurdle Hunt: