KOCHI: Trashing the oft-held view bandied around by plastic-sceptics, Vasudevan Rajagopalan called the ‘Plastic Man of India’, said it is not plastic per se but the woefully inadequate waste management system which leads to the accumulation of plastic debris on both land and in water. "Plastic is a valuable resource," he said while inaugurating the National Conference on Marine Debris (COMAD) at the CMFRI here on Wednesday. The two-day conference is being organised by the Marine Biological Association of India (MBAI). N G K Pillai presided over the function.
Gayathri Handanahal of the Waste Impact Trust, Karnataka, MBAI secretary K Sunil Mohammed and COMAD convener and CMFRI principal scientist V Kripa spoke on the occasion. Delivering the lead talk at COMAD, she said the oceans will have 850 million tonnes of plastics by 2050 whereas the fish stocks will add up to only 812 million tonnes. “Recent studies have shown there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of these, 269,000 tonnes float on the surface while some four billion plastic microfibres per sq km litter the deep sea,” said Kripa.
“The amount of plastic waste entering the ocean from land each year exceeds 4.8 million tonnes,” she said. According to her, micro-plastics pose a serious threat to the marine food webs. In India, micro and macro plastics have been observed at all trophic levels starting from sardines to tunas and sea birds, she said.