Beaches in Maharashtra are more polluted with microplastics and macroplastics than those in Goa and Karnataka, according to a study conducted by a research institute here. The study has blamed plastic industries located near the shore and increased tourism activities for the pollution.
"The highest abundance of macro and microplastic contaminants is found on beaches in Maharashtra at the high tide line as compared to Karnataka and Goa," says the study conducted by the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).
"Such a phenomenon of finding macro and micro-plastics in abundance on Maharashtra beaches suggests that the contaminants are land-based, like (coming from) near shore plastic industries, port areas, petroleum industries and high tourism activities," it said.
The study, titled 'Assessment of macro and micro plastics along the west coast of India: abundance, distribution, polymer type and toxicity', was published in the Netherlands-based journal 'Chemosphere' last week. The researchers conducted the assessment of macro and microplastic contamination for two years on 10 beaches along the western coast of India and their toxic effects on marine organisms.
The plastic contaminants on these beaches were found in various colours like white, pale yellow, dark brown, green, blue and red, said the study, led by NIO scientists Dr Mahua Saha and Dr Dushmant Maharana.
To prevent the marine environment from being affected by plastic contaminants, the researchers have suggested that the government frame policies to shun single-use plastic and increase its recycling, besides conducting community awareness programmes frequently.
Plastics less than five millimeters in length are called 'microplastics' and the relatively larger particles, of more than 5 mm, are classified as 'macroplastics'. The Goa-based NIO is one of the constituent laboratories of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).