Microplastic can remain active as marine contaminants for hundreds of years

Bhubaneswar: In what could be deemed as a major cause of concern about 14 million tonnes of plastic ended up in oceans by 2016, forming 60-90 per cent of marine litter. The number is expected to triple by 2040.

And, it’s the humans that are responsible for the crisis. Almost miniscule segregation at source sending all plastic to landfill sites, low recycling rates and no control over what flows down the nullahs into the rivers, which goes straight into the oceans.

Microplastics have infiltrated the food and water consumed by humans and animals alike and also the air. Once the microplastics enter the environment, they act as — rather turn into — pollutants and can remain active as marine contaminants for hundreds of years threatening the ecological balance. Microplastic in oceans is being acknowledged as a serious ecological concern.

These were some of the serious concerns raised at a workshop on ‘Microplastic — A Global Pollutant’, recently organised by Toxics Link, an advocacy and research think-tank.

Sumit Sharma from United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said, “Fortunately for India, the per capita consumption is 11 kg per year as compared to the global average of 28 kg.” However, the sheer population makes it the unwanted mountain of trash.

Stressing on the need for a regular evaluation of the levels of microplastic in seafood, Vijay Dharmamony from WWF India said there is a great need to study the assimilation of a range of microplastic sizes and compositions into human tissues. Speaking on the ‘Impact of microplastic on marine ecosystem’, he elaborated how microplastic is first consumed by the zooplanktons and then travels up the food chain.

“And if in between there is a commercially relevant fish/seafood, it reaches straight on your table,” he highlighted.


[Note: This story is a part of ‘Punascha Pruthibi – One Earth. Unite for It’, an awareness campaign by Sambad Digital.]

Also Read

Comments are closed.