Long-term coastal clean-up efforts to continue, following the unprecedented nurdle spill that happened in KwaZulu-Natal on the 10th October 2017, resulting in over 2 000 000 000 plastic pellets (Nurdles) leaked into the ocean.
20 weeks after the disaster, only 11.7 tons (24%) of the Nurdles have been recovered. This despite the collective efforts of the DRIZIT, civil society and DEA Working for the Coast (WftC) teams. There is no doubt that the nurdle clean-up efforts will need to continue for months, if not years, to come.
“Noting the tremendous work that has been done by all involved, the department (DEA) is proud of the partnerships that have been established to deal with the spill. Whilst, the additional Nurdle focussed WtfC team’s contracts are coming to an end (employed on a three-month basis to deal with the disaster at the time), there have been engagements with the WftC implementers regarding this and an agreement was reached on the best approach. DEA’s WftC programme has just about 3000 warm bodies along the entire coastline solely responsible for the cleaning and upkeep of the coast. The brief to the implementers was that there will be dedicated teams working at a smaller scale to focus on Nurdles as the collection intensity has moderated. Over and above this, the challenge of waste washing up on the coast that has come down rivers and the channels, has led to DEA expanding the WftC activities to include inland river based activities, so as to deal with the challenge at source. These teams will be starting by the first of march and should the Nurdles manifest in greater quantities, these teams will also help with collection efforts. “Luvuyo Mlilo, Chief Director of Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programmes.
“There is little doubt that the plastic pollution of our oceans is one of the most pressing environmental issues of our generation. We are excited to be working closely with DEA, SAAMBR and many other partners, to shape and implement large scale pro-poor activities to deal with this scourge through our WILDOCEANS Programme.” Dr Andrew Venter, CEO WILDTRUST. Weekly updates about all Nurdle clean-up efforts can be found on the Coastkzn website* (www.coastkzn.co.za/nurdles).