Public Lab Research note

Typology for the nurdles of the "Bianca" spill

by eustatic | August 26, 2020 21:12 26 Aug 21:12 | #24462 | #24462

On 2nd August, 2020, CMA CGM Group vessel Bianca released multiple boxes of cargo into the Mississippi River, including nurdle cargo.

Nurdles aren't considered pollution themselves by the US Coast Guard, or Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, except that they are "floating debris." A poor attitude is given toward those people who would ask the government to clean up this pollution, and hold CMA CGM accountable for cleaning up the plastic spilled onto our River beaches, and ultimately, into our estuary.

At HealthyGulf, we know that we must document these releases. Soon, the company will claim to have completed clean up, or start to blame other companies, like Dow, for the nurdles, and the government will back off to avoid offending them, or their lawyers.

Plastic is seen as the savior of the US oil industry, the solution for the overproduction of oil and gas that the United States has engaged in since 2013. Some lobbyists are even touting plastic as a solution to the climate crisis (although these nurdles will release GHG's like methane, into the atmophere, as they break down under UV light of earth's sun.

This plastic problem, bad as it is on the Mississippi River, is only going to get worse, as oil producers seek to turn worthless oil into plastic, and cajole governments into increasing plastic consumption, to justify their investments in a dying industry.

Part of documenting this release of industrial waste is to identify the type of nurdle seen from the Bianca spill. If we see this kind of nurdle, we can identify it as belonging to CMA CGM group, as opposed to Dow, Exxon, or other companies.

Attached are some photos. These nurdles, collected from US federal property at historic Chalmette Battlefield, are roughly cylindrical ("muffin" shaped), 5-6mm in diameter, clear (as of Aug 10th, spilled Aug 2nd), and slightly less than 4mm tall.

I have seen some of these nurdles turning yellow at Chalmette Battlefield.

We need to do more in our governments to regulate plastic pollution, especially these violations of the Federal Clean Water Act. But, as government looks the over way, we must do what we can, to bear witness, collect information, and even clean up this mess ourselves.

I will follow up this post with some ideas for clean up.

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Here's the link to the NRC report for the Bianca release: Report Details NRC Report ID: 1283508 Incident Time: 2020-08-02 14:00:00 Nearest City: New Orleans, LA Location: 50 NAPOLEON AVE. Incident Type: FIXED Medium Affected: NON-RELEASE (N/A) Suspected Responsible Party: NEW ORLEANS TERMINAL SkyTruth Analysis Lat/Long: 29.912788, -90.102576 (Approximated from street_address) Report DescriptionCALLER IS REPORTING THAT DURNING A STORM TWO EMPTY CONTAINERS WERE BLOWN INTO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER AND A THIRD EMPTY CONTAINER FELL ONTO A BARGE.

And the citizen complaint to NRC that began the news stories! Citizen Complaints Work! Report Details NRC Report ID: 1283938 Incident Time: 2020-08-06 19:45:00 Nearest City: Chalmette, LA Location2: CHALMETTE BATTLEFIELD AND NATIONAL CEMETARY/ MISSISSIPPI RIVER BANK Incident Type: FIXED Material: INDUSTRIAL PLASTIC PELLETS Medium Affected: WATER SkyTruth Analysis Lat/Long: 29.942124, -89.994369 (Approximated from establishment) Report DescriptionCALLER REPORTED THE DISCOVERY OF WHITE INDUSTRIAL PLASTIC PELLETS ON THE EAST BANK OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER DUE TO AN UNKNOWN CAUSE. PELLETS ARE SPREAD OUT OVER A 1 MILE STRETCH OF AREA.

Thanks for sharing these complaint testimonies and images @eustatic

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lol, i mean, it says it, right there.

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