Smoldering Ship Leaking Billions of Plastic Pellets Sinks off Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka braces for beach pollution as ship burns

Before the boat even sank, the Sri Lankan Marine Environment and Protection Authority told local media that the plastic spill caused “the worst environmental disaster we have seen in our lifetime.” Other experts say monsoon tides and winds could wash the pellets away from the original disaster site, extending the crisis for a long time to come and to places far away.

Read more: Sri Lanka faces ‘worst-ever beach pollution’ from burning ship

“This is probably the worst beach pollution in our history,” MEPA chairman Dharshani Lahandapura said.

Charitha Pattiaratchi, a professor of oceanography at the University of Western Australia, wrote on Facebook that any nurdles not cleaned up “will persist in the marine environment forever as they are not biodegradable.”