A new study by Toxics Link found that the river Ganga is polluted with multiple kinds of plastic, with the highest concentration at Varanasi, and micro-plastics samples being found at Haridwar, Kanpur and Varanasi.
Microplastics are defined as plastics less than 5 mm in length and are recognized as a major source of marine pollution due to their persistence, ubiquity, and toxic potential.
Plastic products and waste material released or dumped in the river break down and are eventually reduced to microparticles and the river finally transports significantly large quantities downstream into the ocean which is the ultimate sink of all plastics being used by humans. “Essentially all along micro-plastics are flowing into the river system. It does reflect or suggest a direct linkage between the poor state of both solid and liquid waste management; hence it is critically important to initiate steps to remediate it,” said Priti Mahesh, Chief Coordinator at Toxics Link.
Untreated sewage from many cities along the river’s course, industrial waste, and religious offerings wrapped in non-degradable plastic add large amounts of pollutants to the river as it flows through many cities that are densely populated, Toxics Link said in a statement.
“Haridwar resulted in the lowest number of MPs/m3 (1.30±0.518) as compared to other two locations, Varanasi and Kanpur. The most frequent size range observed in all the samples was