Clean up of nurdle-polluted Southampton Chessel Bay nature reserve #Clean #nurdlepolluted #Southampton #Chessel #Bay #nature #reserve #englishheadline


A nature reserve in Southampton is one of the worst cases of micro plastics pollution in the country, environmental campaigners have said.

Chessel Bay on the banks of the River Itchen has been blighted by millions of nurdles, plastic pellets washed ashore.

The site is being cleaned by not-for-profit company using its specially-designed machinery.

It follows a campaign by local people to raise awareness of the pollution.

The company and volunteers are using specially-designed vacuum cleaners to suck up and filter the nurdles – tiny pellets used in the manufacture of plastic products – without causing damage to the surrounding plants and habitats.

Josh Beech of said the site was suffered from a “devastating” amount of plastic pollution.

“It is one of, if not, the worst areas we have seen in England and Wales,” he said.

The firm estimates more than 90 million pieces of plastic were picked up in a five-day clean up earlier this year.

The site is on a bend in the river making it susceptible to gathering airborne and tidal pollution.

A series of week-long clean ups, funded by the Environment Agency, are being carried out to suck up the nurdles that get dispersed or embedded in the landscape.

The Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on the eastern shore of the Itchen was designated as Southampton’s first Local Nature Reserve in 1989.

Katrina Ayling and other local residents raised the issue with the Environment Agency in 2019 when she described it as being “smothered” in nurdles.

She said: “I just cried and thought ‘I need to do something’.

“It’s sad – its Southampton’s first nature reserve and the only bit of nature shore we’ve got left. It should be cherished and protected.

“We’re starting to see some results – it’s already looking better.”

Southampton City Council said it had been working for a number of years to “remove windblown detritus” before a successful trials of’s equipment in 2021.

“The removal of the plastic from the shore has made a significant difference and will make it a lot easier to keep this section of the Chessel Bay Local Nature Reserve in a favourable condition, while the Environment Agency continues to work with local businesses with the aim of preventing plastics ending up in the environment,” it added.

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