June 10th Coastal Cleanup…and Widespread Evidence of “Nurdles”

The 42″ clip is a little grainy, taken on a cellphone, but it does show how plastic nurdles, tiny plastic beads which you’ll see in the video clip (and the raw material for creating all things plastic), have been distributed around Nipigon Bay, and indeed Lake Superior.

From 12 noon-4 pm on June 10th, Parks Canada will be conducting a shoreline clean-up at Mountain Bay. The cleanup is part of Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup efforts. The Parks Canada event will be focused on the shores of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, specifically Mountain Bay on Nipigon Bay. The Nipigon Bay Remedial Action Plan is helping to organize the event. Participants must RSVP Parks Canada to participate. More information here.

After Infosuperior received calls from as far away as Wawa, Ontario, noting the presence of nurdles on otherwise pristine beaches, like those in Wawa, Infosuperior went out after work to verify the situation. Chuck Hutterli, who lives in the Gravel River area, said he had also seen the beads on beaches, including those near Little Gravel River. Dave Tamblyn, who lives in Rossport, Ontario and is Chair of Lakehead University’s Board of Governors, says, I’ve found them on Wilson, Healey and Nicol islands.”

The nurdles resulted from a train wreck near Cavers several years ago, and Canadian Pacific Railway has spent millions on cleanup. Despite this, and in addition to the efforts of local residents, the video clip demonstrates that nurdles are widespread on Lake Superior. Nurdles are classified as a microplastic under federal Canadian legislation. Like any other pollution problem, emphasis needs to be placed on reduced plastic use and prevention, before the vast array of plastic products reaches our waterways.

More photos on Flickr from the Gravel River, beaches near Little Gravel River, May, 2018.

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