HK struggles to clean plastic pellets from beaches

AP News
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Posted: Aug 06, 2012 12:43 AM
HK struggles to clean plastic pellets from beaches

HONG KONG (AP) — The cleanup after Hong Kong's worst typhoon in 13 years is taking longer than usual as volunteers struggle to collect millions of plastic pellets from a container ship that washed onto beaches.

Several hundred volunteers at one beach Sunday used trowels, paintbrushes, dustpans and sieves to painstakingly pick up the translucent pellets, which coated the shore.

Also known as nurdles, the pellets are used by factories to make plastic products. Authorities say six containers filled with the pellets were lost from a ship in waters south of Hong Kong when it was caught in Typhoon Vicente last month.

The government said pellets have been found at 10 beaches. Environmental groups are concerned they will absorb pollutants and then be eaten by fish that may in turn be eaten by humans.