MICROPLASTICS polluting the Jurassic Coast are to become the focus of a major-clean up.

A week-long effort will see 'nurdles' and other microplastics which litter the coast at Charmouth and mouth of the River Char get hoovered up by beach clean experts using special machines.

Charmouth has become a problem hotspot for tens of thousands of the tiny black and bright blue, plastic pellets - nurdles used in manufacturing which wash ashore, as well as tiny ridged biobeads used in some sewage treatment processes.

As well as being an eyesore, they are a serious problem for marine life which are attracted to the plastics and eat them – but the pellets can choke and poison them, and toxic chemicals inside can also make their way up the food chain to humans.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Nurdle (Claire Vowell) on her last visit to Charmouth

Exactly why these pellets are a problem at Charmouth in particular has intrigued scientists like Professor Philip Strange of Reading University, who has written about the impact of these microplastics on the environment. The Heritage Coast Centre at Charmouth regularly organises groups of volunteers to collect them up by hand.

Since the River Char Community Project was formed in 2022, the parish council and others have been researching the problem, and looking for a way to clean them up.

Now Joshua Beech, founder of Nurdle.org.uk - a pioneering, not-for-profit company that has developed machines to hoover up microplastics on Europe’s beaches, is coming to the rescue.

There's further good news as South West Water has agreed to fund the clean-up in full - even though the nurdles and some of the other microplastics on the beach are not its responsibility.

Josh and his team will make two extended visits to Charmouth this year; the first being next week. Working each day till dusk, his team will use vacuums and sieves to clean up the beach and river mouth, separating the microplastics from seaweed and other organic matter, which is returned to the beach to minimise damage to the shoreline habitat.

The team will be in Charmouth from January 24-28 (Wednesday to Sunday midday) and again in early March. The visits are timed to coincide with spring tides to give them the best chance of cleaning up as many nurdles as possible.

People are asked to see the clean-up in action, support the teams and help with the hand-held ‘hoovers’. You can visit Charmouth beach any day that week between 9am and dusk.

On Saturday, January 27 there’s a family-friendly beach clean from 10am-11.30am where there are prizes to be won.

For more information see www.riverchar.org