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Filth covers Mumbai shores
The beach city was recently in the news for the unusual high-tides that hit its shores. According to a senior civic official, there were complaints about filth from the sea-facing areas and soon the solid waste management (SWM) department swung into action. Surprisingly, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) removed 64 tonnes of floating refuse that entered the seafronts. Areas like Dadar and Mahim were found to be the filthiest with removal of 34 tonnes of waste. In Marine Drive, Girgaum, Worli, Bandra and Juhu, Sagar Kutir, BMC lifted 6, 5, 1.5, 1.5 and 16 tonnes of refuse, respectively.

A large and unquantifiable amount of plastic waste enters the ocean from littering, poorly managed landfills, tourist activities and fisheries. Some of this material sinks to the ocean floor, while some floats and can travel over great distances on ocean currents - polluting shorelines and accumulating in massive mid-ocean gyres. Besides, according to two UN reports, plastic waste causes an annual damage of US $13 billion to the marine ecosystem and underlined the need of recycling and redesigning plastic products to bring multiple green economy benefits.

"Plastic contamination threatens marine life, tourism, fisheries and businesses," reported the eleventh edition of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Year Book, which updates 10 issues previously highlighted over the past decade and provides mitigation steps for each. Making a case for managing and disclosing plastic use in the consumer goods industry, the UNEP-supported report ‘Valuing Plastic’ added, "Over 30 per cent of the natural capital costs are due to greenhouse gas emissions from raw material extraction and processing. Marine pollution is the largest downstream cost, with the US $ 13 billion figure most likely a significant underestimate."

Calculating the negative financial impact of issues such as marine environment or air pollution caused by incinerating plastic, the report said that the overall natural capital cost in the consumer goods sector each year is US $75 billion. This shows that reducing, recycling and redesigning products that use plastics can bring multiple green economy benefits: from reducing economic damage to marine ecosystems and the tourism and fisheries industries - vital for many developing countries - to bringing savings and opportunities for innovation to companies while reducing reputational risks. The environmental damage due to plastic waste include mortality or illness when ingested by sea creatures such as turtles, entanglement of animals like dolphins and whales and damage to critical habitats such as coral reefs.

Source: PTI

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