Photo: Pacifica’s Nurdle Beach

Posted by on Wed, January 27, 2010

Ian Butler in Pacifica Riptide

Ian Butler took this photo at Nurdle Beach, the new nickname for Pacifica’s northernmost beach.  Nurdles are small particles that Styrofoam (polystyrene) is made of. According to Butler, writing for the Riptide:

The entire beach was covered in a white layer of the particles, which probably numbered in the millions. Recent rains washed them from Pacifica and Daly City streets into the storm drains, down the "Secret Waterfall" and into the ocean. They were then washed up onto the beach during high tide. They will all wash away in a day or two and head out to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, poisoning birds, fish, turtles, and sea mammals all the way.

For one, the ENTIRE beach wasn’t covered. But drama is allowed in these parts.

Second, the link to the alleged Garbage Patch is dead. Never mind, as it’s the same patch that “scientists” claimed to sail out and observe as the size of Texas. Then they were called on it with satellite imagery, and later recanted with a “well… it’s all broken up into small pieces and underneath the surface”. That patch, a la global warming turned climate change.

You might want to check out this web site before you so glibly dismiss the effects of pollution in our oceans.

Message from the Gyre

Comment 3
Thu, January 28, 2010 11:45am
Barry Parr
All my comments

I fixed the link.

I can’t speak to whether the entire beach was covered, but only to what the Mr. Butler observed. The mess in the photo looks unacceptable on a public beach.

Kevin, you seem be uncomfortable with peer-reviewed research as a source of empirical evidence.

Mr Barron,

Please take a good look at this website:

And if that doesn’t convince you try this one:

Comment 5
Fri, January 29, 2010 3:24pm
Carl May
All my comments

There is no beach on the California coast not subject to styrofoam pollution. Even the most remote beaches of the Lost Coast, sometimes said to be the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the lower 48, have it to some degree, especially after storms, though not to the intensity of the above photo.

Maybe Kevin is trying to say why worry about a monster concentration of pollution in one region of the Pacific when acidification and temperature change are likely already affecting the whole darn ocean?

Comment 6
Sun, February 7, 2010 10:22am
Barry Parr
All my comments

Kevin Barron suggested earlier that this beach isn’t *that* polluted. I just posted a video from Ian Butler that suggests otherwise.

That beach looks polluted to me, and it’s not just the styrofoam! Yuk! Lots of California beaches are subject to this kind of trash and indestructible plastic at various times of the year. That’s why participating in Beach Cleanup days, as the folks in the video did, is a small thing each of us can do to save the ocean and all living things that depend on it.

Much of this trash comes from sidewalk and roadside litter that gets washed down the storm drains. So using trash receptacles and picking up after yourself (and others when necessary) may be the biggest help of all.