Coastal waters are still a sump for plastic waste | Chennai news

CHENNAI: The southwest monsoon may have saved the Indian coast from the plastic pollutants released by the cargo ship that partially sank off the coast of Sri Lanka, but the seawater in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean is already a sump for plastic waste.
Much of this pollution comes from merchant ships, leisure vessels, research vessels, naval vessels and fishing vessels.
The changing monsoon winds ensure that this plastic waste, which does not break down for years, ends up on the coast of Tamil Nadu.
Although dumping waste from ships has been banned since 1988, researchers said illegal dumping still contributes to plastic waste. The state’s coastline is fragile as shipping companies operate nearby. “Almost 90% of the plastic waste that pollutes the oceans comes from sources in the ocean. Merchant ships dump cargo, sewage, medical equipment, plastic bottles, tote bags and other waste containing plastic into the ocean, ”a 2017 Indian Coast Guard said in a 2017 report.
Manoj Joy, a former seaman, said: “Years ago all kinds of ships dumped rubbish. Now the regulations have become stricter. Ships and seafarers from established shipping companies don’t throw plastic waste or sewage into the sea. But there are violations.” . Fishing vessels also dump plastic. ”
Studies have estimated that between 0.47 and 2.75 million tons of plastic waste enter the world’s oceans annually, of which around 15 to 20% ends up in the Indian Ocean.
While 35% of plastic materials sink and settle on the ocean floor, most of them swim and are transported over long distances by the influence of wind, currents and waves.
The most common are plastics used to make packaging, bags, containers, bottles for soft drinks, water, mouthwash, shampoo, masks, household appliances and electronic products.
Prof. Charitha Pattiaratchi of the University of Western Australia said in his report on the trajectory of the pollutants released by X-Press Pearl that pollutants such as the plastic nails that have started to drift south of Sri Lanka are heading west to India , Somalia, and Maldives if the wind reverses during the northeast monsoon.
A preprint study entitled “Plastics in the Indian Oceansources, Fate, Distribution and Impacts” by researchers from India, Australia, Germany and the UK found that during the southwest monsoon, currents in the northern Indian Ocean from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea. During the northeast monsoon, the current flows from the Arabian Sea into the Bay of Bengal. “This net transport to the east, combined with eddies (circular water current) in the Bay of Bengal and possibly plastic trapping, results in plastics being present year round in the Bay of Bengal.”
MV Ramana Murthy, Director of the National Center for Coastal Research, said: “We have not yet analyzed any ship waste. Access to information and data on submerged litter for such studies is difficult because these ships keep moving all year round, ”he said.

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