New Delhi: Most of the fishing harbours and beaches adjacent to fishing villages have occurrence of “high” beach litter, the government said on Monday. In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Environment Mahesh Sharma said plastic litter from tourism accounted for 40 per cent at Elliot’s Beach in Chennai and 96 per cent at Gopalpur Beach in Odisha. He said in recent years, plastic pollution has been identified as a key component of marine debris in beaches all over the world.
Among different coastal segments studied, beach pollution was observed to be high at places that were in close proximity to the river mouths. The beaches adjacent to rivers exhibit relatively higher beach debris compared to those influenced by tourism and fishing activities, the minister said. He said,
According to the National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR), studies on qualitative analysis of litter on different beaches along the east and west coast of India shows that plastic litter from tourism accounted for 40 per cent at Elliot’s Beach in Chennai and 96 per cent at Gopalpur Beach in Odisha.
Indian beaches attract thousands of tourists and the hotels and small-time vendors operating at the tourist hot spots eventually contribute to plastic waste such as single-use carry bags, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, packing materials, styrofoam food wrappers or containers, straws and plastic teacups, which results in beach littering, he pointed out.
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Mr. Sharma said, “The recent studies carried out by the Environment Ministry and Ministry of Earth Sciences reveal that most of the fishing harbours and beaches adjacent to fishing villages have an occurrence of high beach litter.” He further added,
Being the most important fishing states, Kerala and Karnataka beaches, especially Fort Kochi (in Kerala) and Karwar (in Karnataka) have profound influence of beach debris, especially synthetic materials like biologically non-degradable nylon fabrics, widely used in the preparation of fishing nets.
The minister was asked whether according to a recent study by the National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR), India had to cope up with a new category of pollution, beach pollution, in addition to the existing water and air pollution.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.