Microplastics pollution in the Ganga
- An analysis of the stretches of the river Ganga by Delhi-based environment NGO Toxics Link has revealed pollution by microplastics, defined as synthetic solid particles sized ranging 1 micrometre (μm) to 5 millimeter (mm), which are insoluble in water
- he highest concentration of such plastic was found at Varanasi, comprising single-use and secondary plastic products
- The shapes and nature of the observed resins ranged from fibres to fragments, films and beads. Fragments were the predominant shape in all locations, followed by film and fibre.
- Microbeads were observed. The most frequent size range observed in all the samples was <300µm.
- Microplastics are recognized as a major source of marine pollution.
- Untreated sewage from many cities along the river’s course, industrial waste and religious offerings wrapped in non-degradable plastics pile pollutants into the river as it flows through several densely populated cities.
- The plastic products and waste materials released or dumped in the river break down and are eventually broken down into micro particles and the river finally transports significantly large quantities downstream into the ocean, which is the ultimate sink of all plastics being used by humans.
- Microbeads are the tiny colourful pellets found in face wash, body scrubs and toothpaste
- These microbeads, which are a form of plastic, are one millimetre (or less) in size. These tiny particles, often found in cosmetics and skincare products, are washed down the sink, escape the filtration process at wastewater treatment plants and end up in oceans.
- Eventually, they are ingested by marine organisms.