People Helping: The Nurdle Patrol

People Helping: The Nurdle Patrol
August 31, 2019 Christina Mullin

Nurdle Patrol is a citizen science project lead by the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas. They gather information about where nurdles are located across Texas and the rest of the Gulf of Mexico, remove the nurdles from the environment, and create awareness about the nurdle issue.

Nurdles are small plastic pellets, the pre-production plastic (raw material) before being made into a plastic product. They are released into the environment when there is a spill either at the manufacturing facility or at a product facility or during transport on ship, rail, or truck. The nurdles absorb toxins in the environment and since they are so small, wildlife mistake them for food, which can be deadly to small birds and sea turtles.

 Nurdle Patrol has created visual maps and spreadsheets of data, helping to remove plastic from the beaches, and creating an awareness about the nurdle problem.

If you happen to live in the area where nurdles are found, and you would like to participate in collecting data; collect nurdles for 10 minutes; write down the number of nurdles collected, location and date and take a picture of the nurdles.

Email your info to

Watch the nurdle patrol training video