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SW monsoon ‘imports’ plastic debris on to Goa coast
Shashwat Gupta Ray | Sunday, 5 June 2016 AT 09:46 PM IST
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Panaji: This is one import Goa would not want at all. If the onshore plastic menace was not enough of an environment threat for the State, it is now facing a bigger challenge - plastic debris getting into Goa’s shores from Arabian sea during south west monsoon - which is not just a threat to environment, but also pose a severe health risk.

This has been found by a team of scientists from National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).

“We collected Micro Plastic Pellets (MPPs) samples from various beaches in the state like Keri, Vagator and Baga of North Goa and Colva, Mobor and Galgibag in the South. We found high presence of micro plastic content,” Dr Mahua Saha, senior scientist at the NIO said.

“These MPPs measuring between one to five millimetre, can be consumed by fish, which can gradually be transferred to humans and can cause severe health conditions like cancer, birth defects, as these pellets are laden with hazardous chemicals,” Saha said.

Considering this danger, we tried to find out the source of these pellets. MPPs were collected from six famous tropical beaches along the Goa coast during the northeast (January 2015) and southwest (June 2015) monsoon seasons. Around 100 MPPs were collected from the high-tide line of the sandy surface of each beach,” Saha said.

Around 3,000 MPPs were collected from six beaches along the Goa coast during January-June 2015. Overall, the occurrence of total MPPs on beaches along the Goa coast was found to be higher in June (1,655 pellets) than January (1,345 pellets).

Total 715 pellets were collected from North and 630 from South coast in January, whereas, during June 1150 pellets were collected from South and 505 from northern part.

“The strong ocean currents during SW monsoon could be playing a major role in pushing the micro plastic residue floating on the sea due to accidental spillage from ships during its transportation onto Goa beaches,” added Saha.

In the northeast monsoon season, fresh MPPs on beaches along the Goa coast is not occurring as a result of counter-clockwise surface currents caused by north-easterly winds. Both the winds and currents are away from the coast, opposing the drift of MPPs towards the coast of Goa.

“The findings will be useful for refined plastic particle trajectory modelling and effective plastic debris removal management practises to keep the west coast plastic pollution free,” she said.
 
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