According to the alarming facts brought out by a recent analysis of marine pollution around the world, seas near Mumbai are found to be the most polluted ones.
The mapping was carried out by Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Germany after compilation of data from 1,237 scientific researches on marine litter which have now been collated into a single comprehensive database.
The compilation further brought out that seas around Kerala and Andaman Nicobar follow the ones in Mumbai in terms of extent of marine pollution. The high levels of marine litter on these beaches are severely affecting fish and seabirds.
On analyzing the extent of plastic debris in the seas of Mumbai, it was found that there were an average of 68.83 items per sq m on the beaches of Juhu, Aksa, Dadar and Versova. The size of these micro-plastics varied between 1m to 5m. Also, of all the litter, about 41.85 percent was micro-plastic. The beach of Juhu has the highest quantity of micros-plastic litter, a whopping 55.33 percent, followed by Versova (28.8 percent), Dadar (18.6 percent) and Aksa (7.9 percent).
Recreational and religious movements on these beaches are the primary contributors of this micro-plastic. As per one of the authors of the paper, poorly treated domestic waste has further added to the already severe sea pollution levels.
Other prominent findings of the study are:
- 60-90 percent of marine litter comprises food and beverage containers, plastic bags, plastic polymers and fishing gear.
- Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic leaks into oceans across the world.
- In 2015, 322 million tons of plastic was manufactured globally.
- In 2010 alone, the plastic debris that entered the marine world weighed between 5 and 13 million tons.
- The approximate yearly cost of this environmental devastation is estimated as USD 13 billion.
- As of March 23, 2017, 34 percent of marine species consume litter and 30 percent get trapped in it. A total of 1,220 marine species have been affected so far, and the number is on a steady rise.
Melanie Bergmann of the AWI says
In the AWI Litterbase, we have for the first time analyzed all groups of organisms affected by the litter, and have presented it in map form. The number of affected marine species is currently at 1,220, and is rising steadily.
The analysis has also reported that Kerala’s Vembanad Lake, the longest lake of India had micro-plastics in all its sediment samples which indicates a considerable presence in the lake.
In fact, anchovies in the mud bank area of Alappuzha also contain micro-plastics. Given that clams and fishes form a major part of the locals’ meals, the existence of micro-plastic in the lake indicate the possibility of severe food contamination for the people.
Plastic debris has also been found in the gut of Longman’s Beaked Whale in Daman & Diu.
The issue of marine litter has always been a crucial one for the entire world. This has been indicated by a number of studies and researches in the past, as well. Marine pollution still continues to pose a major threat to the underwater world as thousands of countries across the world continue to dump their waste in oceans.
However, India manages to consistently be on the top of the list of countries littering and dumping waste in their aquatic treasures. Yet again, Indians have proved to the world that they can knock over everyone in all aspects but social etiquette.
But, it is high time that the world starts taking some steps towards protection and preservation of this maritime wealth, or it will be too late. Here are a few things every individual must start doing right from this moment to prevent our seas and oceans from further pollution:
- All those who love to eat and drink around the seas MUST NOT throw any sort of garbage in the water or nearby areas. Use ONLY DUSTBINS for throwing garbage.
- Plastics in any form should be a BIG NO, especially in areas surrounding seas and oceans.
- ALWAYS use CLOTH BAGS to carry your stuff when visiting a beach.
- Do not spill while boating and fishing.
- Switch to organic products in your home and kitchen.
- Invest in reusable items. Use of disposable bottles, bags etc. should be minimum.
- Recycle batteries, electronics, oil filters, motor oils, and everything else that can be recycled.
- Do NOT dump waste in seas and other water bodies in the name of religion.
Keep your beaches clean. They have done a lot for you for generations. It is your time to return the favor.