INDIAN OCEAN – THE PLASTIC PROBLEM

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

Oceans cover more than 71 percent of the planet, host up to 80 percent of its life and account for 96 percent of all its water, yet these seemingly infinite entities are on the precipice of destruction and they have only one species to thank for it – humans. Ocean Pollution is one of the biggest threats the world is facing right now. In 2015, a report by the United Nations Environment Programme stated that Ocean Pollution was alarmingly rampant in Indian waters . The report informed that India dumped 0.60 million tonnes of plastic waste into the ocean annually, making it number 12 in the world on this unenviable list. Some of this waste sinks to the ocean floor, other is washed up upon beaches, and the rest floats on the oceans' surface hitching a ride on the their currents. Durability, being the reason why plastic is so popular in the first place, also means that it travels great distances and remains in the ecosystem for ages.

Let us turn the spotlight on the Indian ocean: Where does all of its plastic trash accumulate?


Alarmingly, scientists don't really have an answer to this question, despite the fact that more plastic is estimated to be dumped in the Indian Ocean than anywhere else on Earth. Half of the reason for the mystery, is that the Indian Ocean doesn't have as much monitoring technology in place to keep track of the problem as other oceans do. The other half, though, involves an environmental enigma. The Indian Ocean just doesn't seem to contain as much plastic as it should. So where does all of its plastic go?


Researchers have narrowed down a few places where some of the plastic is probably amassing, such as in the Bay of Bengal, which is surrounded by population-heavy India on the west, Bangladesh to the north, and Myanmar and Thailand to the east. But overall, gyres- which are large systems of rotating ocean currents- don't seem to form in the Indian Ocean in the same way they do in the other ones. Gyres are notorious for harboring vast fields of rubbish, colloquially known as Garbage Patches, some as large as three Frances put together. Studies have shown that the atmospheric and oceanic attributes of the Indian Ocean are different to other ocean basins and, hence, there may not be a concentrated garbage patch in it .Therefore the mystery of its missing plastic seems to intrigue experts even further. But the bottom line still remains, if nothing is done to eliminate or at least slow down the rate at which waste is being dumped into the oceans, they risk being turned into waste watery deserts.


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Tauqir | Editing and Proofreading

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