Every time we become callous and throw a plastic bottle or a wrapper out of a car window, we actually lob it into the sea, literally. How? Please consider this snaky sequence that is not shaky and undeterred, unfortunately.
The drain adjoining our location ends in a stream which joins a river and the river is destined for the bigger river which eventually culminates into the blue ocean.
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Even if we don’t reside in coastal areas but from any landlocked point too, garbage gets into the ocean after covering thousands of kilometres.
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Just 2 years ago, at Japan’s Kyushu University scientists estimated that the upper oceans of the world have 24.4 trillion microplastics and this mass is similar to 30 billion water bottles of half a litre.
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Truly a disturbing scenario that oceans have become the ultimate dumping ground for plastics.
Conscious calculations at IUCN suggest that out of 400 million tonnes of plastic produced every year, oceans are made to consume 14 million tonnes.
Unlocking more horror, 80% of marine rubbish comprises plastics.
Dear reader, undoubtedly, the problem is hard to ignore and therefore isn’t small.
We need to realize that the oceans should not be taken down as a sink.
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Plastic doesn’t get decomposed and water currents and the sunlight splits it into minute pieces.
Fish and their other fishy counterparts eat up these particles after which, these arrive on our dining tables as delish items.
Further, the presence of plastics in the sea, also makes animals sick and get accumulated in their gut.
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We see fish feeling uneasy and suffocating or getting stuck in the material in large numbers.
Then, the plastic hampers the food web, prevents sunlight from making a reach to algae and plankton and creates a ruckus in marine culture in multiple ways.
In India too, thorough research was made recently uncovering a saga that is pretty shocking as microplastics are said to be entering our bodies in bulk.
Also, the strength of plastic pollutants in the sea is on a constant rise.
Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board recently conducted a study showing that those dwelling near 19 estuaries in this state are highly likely to consume 800 fragments of microplastics through the fishy channel and if they prefer shellfish, this quantity rises to 2800 pieces.
Adyar estuary, nestled in Chennai, can be a case of reference as we find the highest concentration of microplastics and the pollution linked to it which is an outcome of an unrestrained release of domestic and industrial waste, both in treated as well as non-treated forms.
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Other than examining the water and sediment pieces, 70 families who live near estuaries, largely prey on fish and shellfish.
In 2021, the research group found 80% of microplastic in fish species which was sourced from the local fish market in Pattinapakkam.
Meanwhile, in 2019-20, the Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE) showed interest in the Mumbai coast and found many types of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tracts and gills of croaker fish and this finding was public through Elsevier Journal.
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The microplastics stuck in croaker fish were less than 100 micrometres in size.
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Going to the study, “Black and blue were the most predominant colours of microplastics inside the tissues”.
Wait is over and we finally get a tool for the objective which is called D4R (Diversity For Restoration) and the credit goes to Biodiversity International.
But to make it useful for Indian conditions, necessary alteration is made by another crew of nerds.
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The researchers are delighted as the tool will refine the restoration program and would therefore be useful for the stakeholders and would promote sustainable development too.
Mr Ravikanth@ ATREE: Fount Of Knowledge: Environment news updates in India.
Mr Ravikanth a senior person at ATREE (Ashoka Trust For Research In Ecology And Environment) briefed the media, “Non-profits, nature lovers and others working on plantations and increasing forest cover often face the challenges in identifying the tree species to plant and their ecological benefits,”
He also clarified that the people have had a hard time finding out which plant species would be good for the specific geographical location.
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He cleared the air, “However, many of these initiatives fail on the ground or are impacted due to the poor inter and intra specific diversity, species site mismatches and land tenurial uncertainties.”
Such is an online tool to help in making quick decisions. Environment news updates in India are just a click away.
“The tool helps the user in identifying species that match their restoration objectives.”
The tool is equipped with info about certain attributes of plants which would serve the objectives.
Such attributes are considered through the prism of finance, ecology and further plantation.
He further added, “We have incorporated habitat suitability modelling for species-specific suitable habitat predictions under present and future climate scenarios,” Ravikanth added.
“The tool informs the user whether the tree species offers timber, fruit, manure or other commercial benefits. It also informs if the tree is resilient to physiological stresses such as extreme high or low temperatures, salinity or acidity tolerance in the soil among others,” he pointed out.
Mr Ravikanth also claimed that the tool could also be used as a windbreaker to check the torrential flow of high winds.
He highlighted, “The user can also know if the species offers better nitrogen fixing and whether it serves as a good pollinator for birds and bees.”
Now comes Mr Milind Bunyan who is another distinguished fellow at ATREE and is a critical member of the project.
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He admired the capability of the tool to keep records of about 237 trees which are native to India’s Western Ghats and carry huge socio-economic significance.
He is soaked in hope that their strength and the geographies will nurture them further.
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Many nations reap the benefits of this tool such as Malaysia, Columbia, Ethiopia, Cameron, Peru etc. This has proved to be of great help in the plantation of numerous tree species.
Mr Bunyan maintains that precisely, the planters are able to figure out how favourable the species would be to the site condition and restoration.
He said, “The tool also provides varied recommendations that help in maximising the chances of restoration along with propagation information and monitoring suggestions.”