Microplastics PollutionIn Ganga River | UPSC

Microplastics PollutionIn Ganga River | UPSC | Why In The News ? – Delhi-based NGO Toxics Link released a study this week titled, “Quantitative analysis of Microplastics along River Ganga”, which has found that the river – which flows through five states covering about 2,500 km before flowing into the Bay of Bengal – is heavily polluted with microplastics.

About the Study: Microplastics PollutionIn Ganga River 

  • The study was carried out in collaboration with the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Goa.
  • It studied the water samples at Haridwar, Kanpur, and Varanasi along River Ganga.

Key Findings of the study:

  • Ganga is heavily polluted with microplastics at Varanasi, Haridwar, and Kanpur.
  • Among the three cities, the water samples at Varanasi showed the maximum load of microplastics as compared to the other two cities.
  • This might be due to cumulative downstream pollution as well as industrial and human activities.

Source of Microplastics in Ganga River:

Microplastics are recognised as a major source of marine pollution. Several sources of it include:

  • Untreated sewage from many cities along the river’s course enters into the river.
  • Industrial waste and religious offerings wrapped in non-degradable plastics pile pollutants enter into the river as it flows through several densely populated cities.
  • The plastic products and waste materials released or dumped in the river break down and are eventually broken down into microparticles.

Microplastics PollutionIn Ganga River | UPSC

What Are The Microplastics ?

  • Microplastics are tiny plastic particles that result from both commercial product development and the breakdown of larger plastics.
  • As a pollutant, microplastics can be harmful to the environment and animal health.
  • Microplastics are present in a variety of products, from cosmetics to synthetic clothing to plastic bags and bottles.
  • Many of these products readily enter the environment in wastes.
  • Microplastics, small pieces of plastic, less than 5 mm (0.2 inch) in length, that occur in the environment as a consequence of plastic pollution.

Read Also – Black Carbon Particles Contribute To Increasing COVID-19 Cases | UPSC

Properties Of Microplastics :

  • Microplastics consist of carbon and hydrogen atoms bound together in polymer chains.
  • Other chemicals, such as phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), are typically also present in microplastics
  • Many of these chemical additives leach out of the plastics after entering the environment.
  • Microplastics are not biodegradable.
  • Microplastics also are a source of air pollution, occurring in dust and airborne fibrous particles.

Types Of Microplastics : 

Microplastics are divided into two types:

Primary Mircroplastics : 

  • Primary microplastics include microbeads found in personal care products, plastic pellets (or nurdles) used in industrial manufacturing, and plastic fibres used in synthetic textiles (e.g., nylon).
  • Primary microplastics enter the environment directly through personal care products being washed into wastewater systems from households).

Secondary Microplastics : 

  • Secondary microplastics form from the breakdown of larger plastics.
  • This typically happens when larger plastics undergo weathering, through exposure to, for example, wave action, wind abrasion, and ultraviolet radiation from sunlight.

Ganga River System

  • The Ganga river system outspreads in India, Tibet (China), Nepal and Bangladesh.
  • It is the largest river basin in India and accounts for about one-fourth of the total area of the country.
  • It covers states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Delhi.
 Place Confluence
Devprayag Bhagirathi + Alaknanda
Rudraprayag Mandakini + Alaknanda
Karnaprayag Pindar + Alaknanda
Vishnuprayag Dhauliganga + Alaknanda

The Five Prayags Are : 

  • Devaprayag, the place of confluence of Bhagirathi river and Alaknanda river.
  • Rudraprayag, the place of confluence of Mandakini river and Alaknanda river.
  • Nandaprayag, the place of confluence of Nandakini river and Alaknanda river.
  • Karnaprayag, the place of confluence of Pindar river and Alaknanda river.
  • Vishnuprayag, the place of confluence of Dhauliganga river and Alaknanda river.

Major Tributaries of the Ganga River

Right Bank Tributaries of the Ganga River

  • Yamuna River
  • Chambal River
  • Banas River
  • Sind River
  • Betwa River
  • Ken River
  • Son River
  • Damodar River

Left Bank Tributaries of the Ganga River

  • Ramganga River
  • Gomti River
  • Ghaghra River
  • Kali River
  • Gandak River
  • Burhi Gandak
  • Kosi River

For Full Details Of Ganga River System – Click Here 

National Institute of Oceanography, India

  • The National Institute of Oceanography, founded on 1 January 1966.
  • It is an autonomous research organization in India to undertake scientific research and studies of special oceanographic features of the Northern Indian Ocean.
  • Headquartered in Goa,
  • It has regional centres in Kochi, Mumbai and Vizag.

Source – The Hindu & Indian Express 

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