Last week the people of South-West Coast learnt the word ‘nurdle’ after thousands of these tiny plastic objects began washing up on beaches around Warrnambool and Port Fairy. A nurdle is a very small pellet which serves as raw material in the manufacture of plastics. Last week locals began noticing them washed up on beaches in the Thunder Point Coastal Reserve after they were illegally disposed of through the Warrnambool sewage and trade waste system. Members of the community armed with sieves and buckets began clean-up efforts last week and they have enlisted the help of local primary schools and concerned residents. But the nurdles keep coming and have spread, being washed up on beaches within the Belfast Coastal Reserve and to Port Fairy.
The local water authority has reported to the Environment Protection Authority and an investigation has been launched to find where these tiny plastics come from. My community is doing all the heavy lifting but this government is giving no support or even acknowledging that this has the potential to be a major environmental disaster. Why won’t this government provide assistance to the clean-up effort, or will it be left up to these volunteers to do it all alone?