With about 38 metric tons of the approximately 49 MT of nurdles that fell off the MSC Susanna into seawaters off the coast of Durban in 2017 now recovered, the three-year clean-up operation of approximately 290 kilometres of coastline has ended, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) has announced.
According to Samsa, the negligible amounts being recovered no longer justified continued recovery operations.
Thankfully, the high- and low-density polyethylene pellets were found to be non-hazardous and it has also been established that they did not cause any known or reported damage or harm to the ecology of the heavily affected area or to living mammals both inland and at sea.
However, according to Samsa, monitoring of the South African coastline along the KwaZulu-Natal province will continue for four more years, and if enough of the plastic nurdles resurface, another recovery operation will be initiated.
More than 160 bags of the nurdles, measuring some 38.8MT in weight, were recovered over the three-year period.
The two containers were lost overboard after the vessel encountered strong winds.