To specify plastic aggregation and leakage hotspots along the Ganges river, a new undertaking in three north Indian towns discovered that approximately 10%-25% of all the plastic garbage produced was disorderly and was not routed into recycling or applicable waste dumping tunnels.
This clutter, which is either produced in or accumulates in the various towns’ hotspots is a primary origin of plastic leaking into the riverine network in the region, particularly during the rainy season. Much of the litter was multilayer plastic packaging, disposable jars and cutlery, nylon bags, and polythene pouches.
The Counter MEASURE program by the United Nations Environment Programme with allocation from Japan, initiated in 2020 to trail and research the leakage and activity of plastic garbage in Asia and the Pacific, especially in the Ganges and Mekong rivers. In India, the program has been deployed in Haridwar, Agra, and Prayagraj (also known as Allahabad) along the Ganges to specify plastic segregation and leakage places– spots within and around the towns where a higher than ordinary amount of plastic heaps up and ultimately reaches the stream.
In each municipality, manual polls of geographical regions were integrated with information from Geographical Information System mapping to chart out soil and drainage topologies and human land-use patterns summarize an article distributed by the National Productivity Council in alliance with the United Nations Environment Programme.
Questionnaires and clean-up marches then provided information on plastic clutter, which was mixed with the manual survey information to increase insight into the plastic segregation and leakage hotspots within every town.
The clean-up movement to assess plastic trash was carried out in selected places. “Every clean-up round at a specific area is required to at least 40-50 recruits and safai karamcharis( cleaners) from the regional community to labour for a whole day to compile, separate and store the plastic garbage for further inspection at our laboratories,” explained Amit Jain, Technical and Plastic Pollution Consultant at United Nations Environment Programme, India for the undertaking CounterMEASURE at the National Productivity Council.
The clean-up movements were allocated scientifically with seemingly inscribed grids and substantiated to be helpful learning options for those involved, explained a National Productivity Council committee member. “At one of our clean-up drives in Agra near the Yamuna river, we required 40 to 50 gunny sacks to carry all the garbage obtained,” she said.
Haridwar, the second-largest town in the northern state of Uttarakhand produces close to 11 tons of plastic garbage as untreated trash and clutter on a normal day. The municipality, considered as a sacred spot in the Hindu faith, may produce more than twofold this amount of plastic waste during festivals, found the CounterMEASURE project.
Much of this plastic garbage is either immediately tossed out at the Ganges ghats (dams on the banks of the Ganges where pilgrims bathe and offer prayers) or is illegally tossed at empty areas. The program specified 17 leakage hotspots in Haridwar comprising regions such as empty lots, slums, or regions with free pits and sluice valves at bombardments.
“We are discovering microplastics in our oceans, our streams and lakes, groundwater, and even drinking liquid origins. However there is no unity between experimenters’ achievements when it comes to helping on microplastics”, explained the National Productivity Council team member. “There is the capacity for rapport to be created between scientists, and a necessity for common sharing of understanding if we are to fight this massive crisis of microplastics polluting the biological world.”