Establishing a Baseline of Nurdle Data

A new plastic facility is being built in your area. Our advice: start establishing a baseline of nurdle data. Establishing a baseline of data provides insight on current nurdle pollution levels in a given area, and this data can then be used for tracking and future comparisons. To develop an accurate evaluation of the site and nurdle situation, conduct as many surveys as you can prior to the plastic facility being built and operational. Once the facility is up and running, you can continue conducting routine surveys and record any increases in nurdle pollution. Your original survey data serves as a reference point, providing an opportunity to analyze the impact, if any, a new facility has had regarding nurdle leakage into the environment.

Establishing a baseline of nurdle data is important even if no plastic facilities are being constructed. Initial survey data allows the Nurdle Patrol to determine if nurdle pollution is an issue or not in a specific location. If no nurdle pollution is continually recorded within a particular area and suddenly nurdles appear, it may indicate there was some sort of spill or sudden leakage. Perhaps this data can be tracked to provide a clue as to where or how it originated. Without the baseline of nurdle data, the increase and/or sudden appearance of nurdles would be difficult to prove as there would be no historic evidence for comparison.

Citizen science contributions to baseline data collection efforts enable the Nurdle Patrol to track where and how nurdle pollution is changing, which strengthens future data analysis. Ultimately, this data and the comparisons made allow for more effective response to nurdle pollution events and future policy creation.


About the author: Lisa Scobel is a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is pursuing a master’s in Environmental Conservation. A native of the Gulf Coast, Lisa is devoted to protecting coastal ecosystems and is passionate about reducing plastic pollution. Currently, Lisa is focused on expanding Nurdle Patrol by generating new partnerships and promoting data collection efforts.