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Industry and Operation Clean Sweep collaborate to map and clean up nurdle waste - 27 February 2019

Industry and Operation Clean Sweep® collaborate to map and clean up nurdle waste


Company representatives from across the chemistry industry and supply chain showed up in force to support Operation Clean Sweep’s Great Port Phillip Bay Nurdle Hunt earlier this month.

Employees from FBT Transwest, LyondellBasell, Qenos, Covestro, BASF and Chemistry Australia pitched in alongside the EPA, local students and community volunteers to scour the banks of the Yarra River beneath the Westgate Bridge for nurdle waste.

During the nurdle survey and river clean-up, the group recovered 1,500 nurdles and 52kg of litter from a 100 metre stretch of the Yarra River.

Heidi Taylor of Operation Clean Sweep Australia said she hopes the event will encourage more industry members to sign up to Operation Clean Sweep® and stop the release of plastic nurdles into the environment.

“We were really pleased with the industry support during this year’s Great Port Phillip Bay Nurdle Hunt,” she said.

“It was encouraging to have such high participation in the field day at Westgate Park, and we’ve since learned of two additional locations monitored by the industry, which contributed to hundreds of sites that were surveyed during the weekend.

“Everyone’s results will help us with the important job of mapping plastic resin pellet loss across the Port Phillip Bay Catchment area.

“We’re hoping to create even greater awareness of the causes of plastic pellet pollution and encourage more companies to take the simple steps to prevent nurdle waste entering our rivers and waterways.”

The teams took part in the river-side clean-up as part of an Operation Clean Sweep® industry day to launch the Great Port Phillip Bay Nurdle Hunt, held on the weekend of 9-10 February.

The clean-up involved the collection of small plastic nurdles, or plastic resin pellets, that are very small beads of raw plastic used in the manufacture of plastic products.   

Nurdles pose a threat to the natural environment because they are eaten by wildlife who mistake the nurdles for fish eggs.  Nurdles can also absorb toxins from water, making them even more dangerous to wildlife and surrounding native habitat.

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