JOURNAL ARTICLE

Plastic litter accumulation on high-water strandline of urban beaches in Mumbai, India

H B Jayasiri, C S Purushothaman, A Vennila
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 2013, 185 (9): 7709-19
23430068
Today, almost every beach on every coastline is threatened by human activities. The inadequate recycling and poor management of waste in developing countries has resulted in considerable quantities of plastic contaminating beaches. Though India has long coastline of 5,420 km along the mainland with 43 % of sandy beaches, data on litter accumulation, particularly the plastics, which are one of the most common and persistent pollutants in marine environment, are scanty. The abundance and distribution of plastic litter was quantitatively assessed in four sandy beaches in Mumbai, India, bimonthly from May 2011 to March 2012. Triplicates of 2 × 2 m (4 m(2)) quadrats were sampled in each beach with a total of 72 quadrats. Overall, average abundance of 11.6 items m(-2) (0.25-282.5 items m(-2)) and 3.24 g m(-2) (0.27-15.53 g m(-2)) plastic litter was recorded in Mumbai beaches. Plastic litter accumulation significantly varied temporally and spatially at p = 0.05. Significantly higher plastic litter accumulation was recorded in Juhu beach. Furthermore, the highest abundance by weight was recorded in November and May numerically. More than 80 % of plastic particles were within the size range of 5-100 mm both by number and weight. Moreover, coloured plastics were predominant with 67 % by number of items and 51 % by weight. Probably, the intense use of beaches for recreation, tourism, and religious activities has increased the potential for plastic contamination in urban beaches in Mumbai.

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