A lot of tiny plastic pieces, called nurdles, have spread across some beaches in Spain. These plastics came from a big container that fell into the sea from a ship off the coast of Portugal last month.
The ship was filled with millions of plastic pieces. The plastics have reached Spanish regions like Galicia, Asturias, and the Basque Country. Liam de Haan, an expert from the University of Barcelona, said these little plastics are really hard to clean up. They are already causing problems in the environment.
“The International Maritime Organization has not categorized plastic as hazardous, whereas we have oil, which is categorized as hazardous. If plastic were to be categorized as hazardous, there would be much more pressure from media and politicians to solve issues like plastic pollution,” De Haan said.
Why it’s bad for animals
These tiny plastics can travel very far, even to places like the Arctic Ocean or the coasts of the USA and Canada, De Haan explained. The big issue is when they break into even tinier pieces.
Because nurdles look like fish eggs or small crustaceans, animals often mistake them for food. As with other plastic, they can get trapped in an animal’s stomach and cause ulceration, preventing them from eating real food.
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