In a shocking revelation that raises questions on the beach clean-up efforts of the Goa government, a study conducted by the Central Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has revealed that the Goa beaches have the highest concentration of plastic debris in India.
Every metre of beach sand in Goa has an average 25.47g of plastic. The total litter, including nylon fishing nets, glass, e-waste, Styrofoam and thermocol, is 205.75g/m2 — the highest in the country.
The 12-member team analysed the distribution of six categories of litter on 254 beaches, including 12 in Goa, across 11 states and Union Territories, which share India’s 7,516km coastline.
After Goa, the 33 beaches in Karnataka are contaminated the most with plastic, with a concentration of 21.91g/m2 followed by 12 beaches in Gujarat at an average 12.62g/m2. The quantum of litter on Karnataka’s beaches was 178.44 g/m2 and 90.56g/m2 in Gujarat.
Plastic is also a concern on the beaches of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep, which have 8.97gms (total litter 19.23 g/m2) and 4.37g/m2 (10.97g/m2) of plastic per square metre of sand. The lowest average quantity of plastic litter was recorded in Odisha at 0.08g/m2.
Plastic items comprise sheets and single-use carry bags, sachets of detergents, containers used to pack milk, cosmetics, oil, toothpaste and PET bottles. Experts said apart from beaches, plastic debris is a threat to marine life – from whales to turtles and coral reefs to sea birds – and potentially humans through the food chain.