Nurdles are tiny plastic pellets used by the plastics industry. Roughly the same size as a lentil, they are melted down and moulded into a variety of plastic products. But as nurdles are produced and shipped around the world, every year about 230,000 tonnes leak into the wider environment, according to a survey by environmental charity Fidra.

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One cargo ship spill alone in May 2021 released 1,500 tonnes of nurdles into the Indian Ocean. Like other microplastics, nurdles pose a threat to marine life as they tend to absorb toxic chemicals and can easily be ingested by animals who mistake them for food.

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Asked by: Mai Huynh, West Midlands

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