Nurdle Patrol Reaches Milestone of 10,000 Surveys


In September 2021, exactly 3 years from the date of the Corpus Christ, Texas nurdle spill, Nurdle Patrol has reached a milestone of citizen scientists performing over 10,000 nurdle surveys across 14 countries. The 10-minute surveys are conducted by volunteers along riverbanks, lakes, and beaches to figure out concentrations of plastic pellets (nurdles) found in their area. These nurdles are the raw material to almost everything plastic and are released to the environment by the plastics industry prior to ever being made into a plastic product. The ultimate goal is to see where the source of pellets is coming from so that policy changes can be made to prevent plastics from reaching the ocean. Other key milestones for Nurdle Patrol include receiving over $1.5M in research and education funding, distributing nearly 500 teacher nurdle kits to educate students about plastics in the environment, partnering with 140 groups to incorporate nurdle surveys in their programs, and having nearly 5,000 citizen scientists collecting data to help stop nurdles from reaching waterways.

Thanks to our funding partners at the Matagorda Bay Mitigation Trust, NOAA Marine Debris Program, Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, 11th Hour Racing, and Texans for Clean Water for supporting these efforts. The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute manages Nurdle Patrol, but the partner organizations and the citizen scientists are they key to the success over the past three years.