Volunteers carefully pluck out plastic pellets from shoreline

October 28, 2011 9:49:18 PM PDT
An unusual environmental cleanup is underway in the East Bay to get rid of a plastic material that may be killing birds. Workers waited for high tide to be able to skim the water at Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline in San Leandro. They're looking for BB sized plastic pellets called "nurdles" used to make all types of plastic products.

"The danger is that this is something that fish and birds can ingest, and if they do enough of that, then it fills up their gullet, and they feel full, but they haven't gotten anything to eat, and they end up starving," said Bruce Wolfe from the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board.

The workers need to pick the pellets very carefully to avoid damaging the habitat of a bird called the California Clapper Rail and the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse -- both of which are endangered species. This is the first time a clean-up of this type has taken place.