Plasticdemia: the n̈urdlesc̈ase.

, Pietroluongo Guido, Azzolin Marta.

While globally public attention and policy decisions are mainly focused on single-use plastic and the microplastic degradation process, the impact and spread of other plastic sources, such as fishing nets and raw materials, are underestimated. This is the case of n̈urdles̈: raw material in the form of pellets from which any plastic product is made of. Nurdles manufactory industries are located in specific areas where their spill is more concentrated. Still, the yearly loss of billions of nurdles is a consequence of all the plastic item production process and transport. For their size, nurdles are considered microplastic and, depending on the final product, they can be made of different colour, shape and by a single or a mix of different polymers. In the environment, and especially in the marine ecosystem, like any other plastic, they are persistent, not biodegradable and carrier of toxins. Using a free access database ( and a beach patrol survey method from January to August 2020, the Adriatic Sea was used as a special area due to its particular closed geography and the absence of nurdles industries in the Mediterranean Sea. The result of this survey showed that nurdles of any kind are widely present along the whole Italian coastline. Nurdles environment domination is totally out of control, despite some industries have adopted its own guidance to reduce the loss and a few voluntary groups promote best practices along the entire plastics supply chain. Plastic invention helped humanity in many scopes but now it's time to select which kind of plastic is essential for human life. If public perception, activism, scientists and policy will continue to focus on littering and clean-up aspect and not on the source of the production and the education of public habits and choices the issue will never come to a solution.

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