CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Small plastic pellets have been known to wash up along Coastal Bend beaches and can be harmful and deadly for wildlife.
They're called "nurdles," a material used to make anything from plastic cups to water bottles. As the nurdles are being transported by ship to different facilities, they are somehow being released into the water and Coastal Bend scientists want to find their source.
Nurdles can be found mixed in with the seaweed that the tide brings in.
Jace Tunnell, director of the Mission Aransas Reserve at the UT Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas, met with 3News at Ropes Park Monday to give an example of what nurdles look like. They aren't only showing up on Coastal Bend beaches, but also in spots like Ropes Park.
"The crazy thing is that we thought initially they would be on the Gulf shoreline, but what we are finding -- especially in Corpus Christi Bay, Lavaca Bay, Galveston Bay -- they are all up in the bays," Tunnell said. "Of course, those are the nursing grounds where all the fish, crab, shrimp everything grows up, we end up catching and eating."
Tunnell said he will be spearheading a community science project called Nurdle Patrol on Feb. 11. He hopes to get help to gather information about where the plastic pellets are found.
According to Tunnell, by determining where the pellets are found, it can help them figure out where they are coming from.
If you would like to learn more about being a part of the survey, there will be a training session Monday, Feb. 11, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Room 106 of Del Mar College's Center for Economic Development Center.