Case report of plastic nurdles pollution in Galicia (NW Atlantic) following the Toconao's spill in December 2023: The VIEIRA Collaborative

VIEIRA Collaborative

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Abstract

Plastic nurdles pose a significant environmental threat due to recurrent accidental spills into marine ecosystems. This report examines the nurdle pollution over the 1498 km of the Galician coastline (Spain) following the spill of 25 t of nurdles into the Northwest Atlantic after the loss of six containers from the Toconao vessel in December 2023. This accident highlights the urgent need for proactive, effective measures in maritime transport to prevent and mitigate such environmental catastrophes. The complexity of nurdle dispersion challenges the evaluation of their fate at sea, and the potential long-term consequences on the marine ecosystem and food web remain uncertain and yet to be investigated. This report also presents the VIEIRA collaborative and underscores the critical role of citizen-led initiatives in responding to such environmental disasters, and advocates for efficient policy reforms, involving cross-border collaboration. Furthermore, we call for greater international cooperation to underpin effective regulatory frameworks to address the growing hazard of plastic nurdle pollution worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116442
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Ecological accident
  • Galicia
  • Microplastics
  • Northwest Atlantic
  • Nurdles
  • Plastic pellets
  • Toconao

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