Marine litter is mostly plastic and is all set to triple by 2040

Microplastics have infiltrated the food and water consumed by humans and animals alike. It is also in the air. Once the microplastics enter the environment, they act as 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.

15 Jul 2022 | By Rahul Kumar

9-14 million tonnes of plastic ended up in oceans by 2016

The concern about microplastic was deliberated at a workshop on Microplastic:  A Global Pollutant, organised by Toxics Link, an advocacy and research think-tank on 14 July.

According to reports, 9-14 million tonnes of plastic ended up in oceans by 2016, forming 60-90% of marine litter. The number is expected to triple by 2040. 

Almost 80% of this marine pollution originates in land. 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 are the reasons for marine pollution.

Sumit Sharma from UNEP said, “Fortunately for India, the per capita consumption is 11 kg per year compared to the global average of 28 kg.”

Asserting the need for regularly assessing the levels of microplastic in seafood, Vijay Dharmamony from WWF India, who spoke on the impact on microplastic on marine ecosystem, said: “There is a great need to study the assimilation of a range of microplastic sizes and compositions into human tissues.”

He also elaborated on how the 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 to your table,” he added.

(Courtesy: IANS)