Plastic Pollution

 

Beaches in Pakistan, especially Clifton, are littered with plastic pollution contributing to around 50 percent of the total garbage found on the beach. This non degradable pollutant is seriously affecting marine life along coastal and offshore waters, maintained a World Wide Fund for Nature Pakistan’s  study on marine pollution in the country.

According to WWF Pakistan solid garbage from cities and towns along the coastline makes its way to the ocean. An estimated 14 billion pounds of trash, much of it plastic is dumped in the world’s oceans every year.Plastic bags, bottles, toys, packaging material, if not disposed of correctly, can reach the sea.Plastic waste, which decomposes very slowly, therefore, remain either floating in the open sea or piled up on the beaches Fishermen also contribute in this pollution by dumping an estimated 150,000 tons of plastic into the ocean each year, including packaging, plastic nets, lines, and buoys. According to another estimate about 8,000 tons of solid waste mainly consisting of plastic is unaccounted for in Karachi; most of it ending up in the sea around Karachi. 

It has been reported that globally one out of three marine mammals have been found entangled in plastic litter. Similarly, researches indicate that around 90 percent of sea birds digest plastic.

Fish and other animals are also not spared as they consume micro-plastic or become entangled in plastic debris, the study maintains.

Uncontrolled dumping of plastic products in the terrestrial and marine environment has become a serious threat to animals and plants inhabiting coastal and offshore waters of Pakistan.

According to one estimate, around 6.4 million metric tons of trash, mostly plastic, is dumped in the world’s oceans every year. If plastic bags, bottles, toys and packaging material are not disposed of properly, they reach the sea and damage coastal ecosystems.

Plastic pollution come from flotsam and jetsam generated from ships including fishing vessels operating in the sea. Floating plastic is mistaken for food items my marine animals who become engulfed in it, in most cases, with serious and deadly consequences.

There is need to place stress upon the need for controlling dumping of solid waste especially plastic in the sea, as most of these materials degrade very slowly taking in most cases centuries. There is, therefore, need to control disposal of solid waste which may be taken to the community dump site by the municipal organization. ‘There is also a need to undertake regular cleaning operations of the beaches to remove accumulated plastic. 

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