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Tons Of Plastic Pellets: Hong Kong's Typhoon Cleanup Could Take Months

A volunteer collects plastic pellets washed up on a bank of Lamma island during a cleanup operation in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Kin Cheung

Hundreds of millions of tiny plastic pellets are littering Hong Kong's beaches. They arrived there after Typhon Vicente pounded a ship carrying containers filled with them, last month.

Today, reports the AP, the government said it could take months for Hong Kong to clean up after the worst typhoon its seen in 13 years.

And the task will be arduous. Just check out this video posted today on YouTube:

We can only imagine it would as tedious as cleaning sand out of a house.

The AP says that environmentalists are also concerned. It reports that the "nurdles" are used to make other plastic products and will absorb toxins and pollutants. Sea creatures will eat them because they look like tiny eggs.

"They're also worried rare marine species such as the Chinese white dolphin could be threatened by the pollutants," the AP reports.

Tracey Read, an environmentalist in Hong Kong, wrote a blog post about the pollution on her blog last month. She was shocked at all the trash that had washed ashore, but she was immediately struck by what looked like snow.

"The words from my son years ago echoed in my head 'Mum, will it ever snow in Hong Kong?'" she wrote. "Yes, Finn this week it has and the snow will last not just for a day but far beyond your life and that of your great grand children!"

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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