Nurdle pollution turns Spanish beach into 'plastic soup'
Billions of tiny plastic beads, known as nurdles, have been washing up on beaches in the north of Spain and along France’s Atlantic coast. This is the result of industrial pollution on a massive scale. To understand how this form of pollution has gone undetected for so long, the Down to Earth team traveled to Tarragona, Spain, where massive nurdle spills have been reported.
Surfing in a 'plastic soup'
Located an hour's drive from Barcelona, Playa de la Pineda is a well-known surfing spot for Tarragona locals. Over the years, it’s also become known for being one of the hotspots of nurdle pollution in Europe.
For Jordi Oliva, surfing in these waters leaves him with a bitter aftertaste.
"You realise you've been swimming in all this pollution," he says, emerging from the water, surfboard in hand. "It's like plastic soup."
While they can't be easily spotted at first, once you lay eyes on them, you can't unsee them. Nurdles are everywhere, scattered on the beach.
Jordi co-founded a non-profit called Good Karma Projects to put the spotlight on this lesser-known form of pollution. He designed a simple set of sieves and a machine the non-profit uses to collect the white pellets.
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