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Current Affairs

Study about microplastic pollution in river Ganges

Date: 27 July 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A study by NGO Toxics Link has discovered that the river Ganges is polluted heavily with microplastic along its route.

 

Background

The study is titled “Quantitative analysis of Microplastics along River Ganga” and was conducted in five states where the river flows.

 

Details

  • Microplastics are small-sized plastics that are less than 5 mm in length. They are major constituents of pollution in water bodies.

  • Microplastics are harmful not only to humans but also marine organisms. More than 11 percent of all affected organisms have problems due to ingestion of microplastics.

  • Marine organisms such as planktons, fishes, corals, sea shells and sea fishes are all part of microplastic chain.

  • Once ingested by these organisms, microplastics move along the food chain and enter bodies of all large organisms including humans.

  • Ingestion of microplastics can cause health problems. Majority of it is taken into the body through water, food and also food containers.

 

The study

  • Samples were collected from Kanpur, Haridwar and Varanasi for study. Microplastics were found in all the samples.

  • The highest was found in samples from Varanasi. Other than microplastics, single use plastics and non-degradable plastics were also found.

  • These plastics break down further along the course and turn into microplastics. The ultimate sink of all plastic waste is the Bay of Bengal.

 

Efforts to clean Ganga

  • The catchment area of river Ganges is the largest in India. It constitutes about 26 percent of landmass. It supports over 43 percent of Indian population and spreads across 11 states.

  • Cleaning Ganges has been taking place since last 40 years. Majority of the focus is on treatment of household and industrial sewage.

  • The plans have not focused much on microplastic pollution. The results of the plans have also yielded too little result.

 

Previous plans

  • Ganga Action Plan (GAP) in 1985

  • IIT Consortium for water diversion and effective treatment

  • Namami Gange (2015)