An important program that we have been working on is the release of plastic resin pellets into the marine environment from transport and manufacturing of plastic products. We are consistently finding these pellets during our clean ups nationwide on beaches, rivers and even stormwater drains. In March we presented our comprehensive report on our findings in Canberra to relevant Government Agencies with a recommendation that the Australian Plastics Industry implement a program called Operation Clean Sweep which aims for zero pellet loss from the plastics industry in the US and New Zealand.
Plastic resin pellets, also known as pre-production plastics or nurdles, are the raw material which is heated and chemically treated to mould plastic goods. Huge volumes of plastic resin pellets are produced and shipped around the world each year. An alarming number of these pellets are constantly being lost into the marine environment both from direct cargo loss at sea and from spillage around factories and transport routes on land. A large proportion of these land spillages eventually find their way into drainage systems and out to sea. At sea, pellets are circulated throughout the world’s oceans and during over 90% of our Australian Marine Debris Initiative clean ups we have found plastic resin pellets. This includes finding pellets in beaches, rivers, storm drains in most capital cities where plastic resin factories are located.
Keep an eye out on our campaign pages to see how this issue progresses, and if you do find plastic resin pellets on your beaches or rivers, please send a photo and information on location to firstname.lastname@example.org