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.