Volunteers help remove nurdles from Jean Klock Beach

Teens help remove plastic beads from sand at Jean Klock Beach. // WSBT 22

At Lake Michigan, it’s a beautiful sight, but something not so pretty may be hidden in the sand.

Volunteers are working to clean up the beach.

Teens from YouthWorks Mission trips are helping take plastic off of Jean Klock Beach.

For a child, sand is the perfect ingredient for a pie or an ice cream cake, but most don't realize what is getting in those cakes: nurdles.

Nurdles are small beads of plastic that shouldn't be there which is why teenagers are working to get them out.

The teens place sand unto sifters. Once full, it's lifted up to let the sand fall and the pollution stay.

It's a slow process to get each nurdle off the beach.

"I really was expecting like big water bottles and like stuff like that. I didn't think we'd be actually digging through the sand finding the little beads,” said Emily Winkler, volunteer.

The teens are lead by Vice President of Parks and Services for Benton Harbor Jerry Edwards.

He didn't know the nurdles were there either until a commissioner asked him to take charge of the project.

"I didn't even know there was such a word as nurdle,” said Edwards.

Now Edwards can't walk the beach without seeing one.

"Anything in the water is in the fish, in the food and in people,” said Edwards.

It's unclear where the nurdles at Jean Klock Park came from, but it's clear they don't belong.

"Feels good knowing that we're making a dent,” said Winkler.

YouthWorks sends a group of teens to help every Monday and Thursday. They'll continue that work through August.

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