For the past eight years small plastic pellets, known as nurdles, have been washing up on the shore of Lake Superior in front of Chuck Hutterli's home, just east of Nipigon, Ont.
The white pellets are meant for use in the production of plastic products. They measure about 5 mm in diameter — about the size of a lentil — and they stand out in the sand.
"They look like snow," he said, and they're polluting a beach that used to be "pristine."
Hutterli said he believes the pellets got into the water after a train derailment in the region eight years ago. The rail company did cleanups, he said, but the problem persists.
In recent years Hutterli has taken to cleaning up the sand in front of his home on his own, using a shovel that he modified for the purpose.
He can spend entire days sifting through the sand, he said, filling garbage bags with the plastic debris.
Huttlerli said he's worried about the impact of the plastic particles on wildlife.
"A few years back early around the spring time I noticed Canadian Geese had come up on the beach," he said.
"They thought [the pellets] were seeds. They were eating them."
Hutterli is part of a group organizing a meeting at the Lake Helen Community Hall on May 3 at 7 p.m., to discuss the problem of nurdles in Nipigon Bay, and possible solutions.