The beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka are a little more white and a lot less beautiful after a cargo ship carrying 76 metric tons of plastic pellets caught fire, spilling the resin out into the ocean and nearby beaches.
To make things even worse, the pellets likely were exposed to the same toxic chemicals that are being blamed for the fire on the MV X-Press Pearl, meaning that the material could be compounding dangers both to the waters and beaches.
"It's an environmental disaster," Sri Lankan marine biologist Asha de Vos told The Washington Post.
U.S.-based environmental group Mongabay notes that because of the chemical exposure, volunteers in Sri Lanka can't just go out and clean up beaches. Sri Lanka's Marine Environment Protection Authority is overseeing the collection and trying to keep pellets from washing back into the ocean.