France Is Facing a Mysterious ‘Nightmare’ of Tiny Plastic Pellets

Stock photo of plastic noodles collected on the beach

For the past year, waves pounding the coast of France have provided evidence of a disturbing mystery. Countless tiny plastic beads end up on the beaches of Brittany, in the Pays de la Loire and elsewhere.

The small globules, officially known as industrial plastic granules (IPG), are more colloquially called a pacifier or “mermaid tears”. The spherical bits are a precursor to everyday plastic products and are melted down into all sorts of items in factories around the world. But along the French coast, in the millions, they are “an ecological nightmare,” according to Christophe Béchu, the country’s minister for ecological transition a public statement.

So far, the exact origin of the pellets is unknown. It is not the first time that France has been affected mysterious sea ​​pollution. One case involved novel telephones in the shape of cartoon cat Garfield, Washed for 35 years before a definitive source was discovered. And there are theories about the new Nurdle case: mostly that the beads came from one or more lost or damaged shipping containers.

However, unlike the Garfield phones, this case will likely be harder to crack. Plastic pellets are so ubiquitous that the uniform white globules that are appearing now could have come from almost anywhere. Although analysis is ongoing, it may be It is impossible to identify the company, manufacturer, carrier or otherwise responsible for the spill of the plastic granules, French government officials said a report from the guard.

Nonetheless, in response to the ongoing disaster, at least three local and regional officials – the mayors of the coastal towns of Pornic and Les Sables d’Olonne, and the President of the Pays de la Loire –have filed a complaint against the unknown perpetrator.

The French government is also providing “full support to the affected areas”. a press statement by the country’s Ministry of Environment. The country’s Navy Minister, Herve Berville, and Béchu both signed a federal complaint against the unnamed and unidentified party, marked “X” in the document filed Wednesday.

“This pollution affecting our Atlantic coast is massive and represents real ecological damage, both to the marine environment and to our beaches,” Berville said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Surfrider Foundation Europe, an environmental nonprofit, organized at least one cleaning Event to demonstrate the scope of the problem. A group of 90 volunteers said they collected more than 60,000 of the granules from a single beach in Brittany a report by Canada’s CBC.

But that’s a drop in the bucket.

Trying to collect all the millions of individual pellets now littering French coasts and ocean ecosystems would be a futile endeavor. “It’s more symbolic than anything,” one participant in the cleanup told the Guardian. “I wanted to pick her up, but it’s endless. It’s too many,” another local volunteer told the outlet.

and the sum of what is on French beaches is close by nothing to all of which was dumped into the oceans.

France’s nurdle spill is far from the first. In May 2021, a ship carrying 87 shipping containers full of plastic pellets sank off the coast of Sri Lanka. TThis further led to the country’s “worst shipping disaster” in history a UN report. Other recent incidents include a 10 tonne spill in the North Sea that affected Scandinavia, and a 2020 spill off the coast of South Africa a report by Grist.

All these granules walk on to address the intractable problems of marine and Microplastic pollution. Some will end up in the bodies of marine organisms. And some of these critters will eventually end up in the human stomachcontain plastic.

Research into the impact of plastic on human health is an emerging field. But first results are not looking good. some studies have suggested a link between plastic exposure and gut disease, diabetes and cancer. one Report 2020 Plastic pollution viewed as a global health threat.

then There are the environmental impacts of plastic granule pollution in the ocean, which have long been known. The plastic parts Contain and attract toxins, which, according to a 2001 study, concentrates water-repellent chemicals in tiny, dangerous packages. A A 2019 study found that plastic pellets aren’t just toxic themselves a breeding ground for dangerous pathogens, which can hitch long-distance trips on plastic mats. Then they break down into smaller and smaller pieces until they are ingested by something along with the chemical and pathogen passengers.

Yet, Companies keep pumping away plastic– sometimes for reasonable use, as in medical applications, but more commonly for disposable items built to be devastated. And year after year catastrophic spills happen. Preventing them would probably be easier and less costly than sifting through literally tons of sand. France Is Facing a Mysterious ‘Nightmare’ of Tiny Plastic Pellets

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