Three plastic bag manufacturers, along with an auto part company, are now being forced to clean up Osyter Bay wetlands for the next two years after surprise inspections from state and federal agencies showed that they were spilling nurdle pellets into the bay. The companies, which include plastic bag makers Metro Poly Inc, E* Poly Star Inc, and Unipoly Inc, will also need to develop pollution prevention plans.
Nurdles are tiny, pre-production pellets that are melted down and used to make plastic products such as bags and car bumpers. They resemble fish eggs and have the ability to adsorb surrounding toxins, making nurdles dangerous to wildlife when mistaken as food. Because of their size and quantity, they are also easily spilled if handled irresponsibly. Inspections of the four San Leandro companies found "gross spillage" of nurdles.
The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, State Water Resources Control Board, and US EPA are working together to continue similar inspections and enforcement throughout the state, and country. This is the first time such efforts have occurred, despite the passage of AB 258 (Krekorian) in 2007 requiring nurdle pollution monitoring and management. If you've seen similar incidents of nurdle pollution, please let us know.
Jared Blumenfeld, regional US EPA administrator, stated,
"It's a very big problem. We're looking at the practices of companies that have a great deal of these nurdles and we're making sure they are contained."
Read more about the story in the SF Chronicle.
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