It was September 2017 where the word Nurdle first entered my vocabulary. I was doing some internet research on cotton bud marine pollution and found Scotland’s environmental charity organisation FIDRA website. They run the ‘The Cotton Bud Project’ tackling sewage-related cotton bud marine pollution and had a sister campaign called ‘The Great Nurdle Hunt’. Little did I know at the time that I would ever see a nurdle and how many times I would be writing and vocalising that word in the following 18 months.
It didn’t take long at all for me to find my first nurdles. Was it one day or a couple of days after I’d read about them on that site that I was at the beach collecting them?
It felt odd that a problem plastic I read about happening on the other side of the world, that seemed so foreign, could be here on my local beach. My beach, ‘Shelly Beach’, is quite a distance away from any city, industry or stormwater outlet.
And, weirdly enough, the third campaign on the FIDRA website was around microplastics. Why is that weird? Because the beach that I was cleaning in my volunteer time, had all three problem plastics at concentrated levels; cotton buds, nurdles and microplastics.
Oh, wait, you still have no idea what I’m talking about do you? “Nurdle?” you ask, “What’s a nurdle?”
So, it was September 22nd, 2017 that I collected my first nurdles and wrote a Facebook post about them and then, just two months later, we had a large spill of nurdles – possibly millions- into the ocean via our local waste water treatment plant. And then, the word ‘nurdle’ was known to many (well, in our town anyway).
There is plenty to this ‘nurdle’ story and I’ve supplied a load of links below for you to peruse. And, I mean loads! Maybe our locally polluted nurdles were always destined for notoriety… it was only one week before the fated ‘Nurdle spill’ that a photo I took of nurdles on Shelly Beach made the UK’s Huffington Post.
If you would like to become a Nurdle Hunter and help rid the sea of nurdles then please join my Facebook page Good Will Nurdle Hunting.
Here is a very short glossary of terms to familiarise yourself with:
Nurdle: Nurdles are pre-production resin pellets. They are the raw material used to make nearly all our plastic products.
Nurdling (Verb): The act of collecting nurdles.
Nurdle Hunt: To look for and collect nurdles.
Nurdle Hunter: A name for a person who collects nurdles.
It is hard to imagine Warrnambool without the FJ’s Silver Ball on the skyline, but just a few years ago its future was in jeopardy.
Full of rust and a public safety concern, the ball was going to be taken down unless someone took responsibility for looking after it.
Back in 2014 when Tonia Wilcox started up the Save the Fletcher Jones Silver Ball & Gardens Facebook page, she had no way to knowing what a following and impact the page would have.
It was through this Facebook page that the Fletcher Jones Silver Ball & factory was bought and spared from a demolishment by neglect. It was also through this Facebook page that an outpouring of public love for the Silver Ball was expressed, along with stories of the FJ’s factory in its heyday.
Those stories, videos and photos shared on the Facebook page inspired the FJ’s community stories project and the development of a website to host those stories. It also inspired the creation of this 30 min documentary titled ‘Keeping the Ball in the air.’
In a world where social media gets so much bad press, the FJs campaign story is a great example of how social media can work effectively; how it can create social change and how it can connect people and create community.
There are plenty of people owed thanks to the telling of this story. As the filmmaker, I’d like to acknowledge that the film was made with crowd-sourced media. I’d like to thank all the people who made this film possible through contributing their photos, videos, newspaper clippings, artwork images and documentary memorabilia.