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WII, National Geographic Society to monitor plastic pollution across Ganga

The project would track the whole course of Ganga across the five states and the researchers will try to identify and the check the source of plastic entering the water body.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2019 16:43 IST
Suparna Roy
Suparna Roy
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Wildlife Institute of India,National Geographic Society,plastic waste in ganga
Plastic waste strewn at Sangam in Allahabad. (HT Photo )

In a first, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) along with US-based National Geographic Society (NGS), will start monitoring the accumulation of plastic waste and its effect on marine life along the course of Ganga from April.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between NGS and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in February regarding the project under which the institutes would monitor the whole course of Ganga, from Gomukh to Ganga Sagar. Experts, after studying the plastic content, would give solutions to conserve the marine life of Ganga. The first half of the survey is scheduled to start by the end of April.

VB Mathur, director of WII said, “The research wing of NGS approached the central environment ministry and WII as part of a global project of tracking how plastics are moving in a system, that is, from land to water till the sea. The project would look at the magnitude of plastic in rivers, taking Ganga as an example.”

The project would track the whole course of Ganga across the five states and the researchers will try to identify and the check the source of plastic entering the water body.

“Plastic in the river body can pollute the water, sand and also affect the aquatic life. When we try to look at plastic content, we will be looking at all three aspects, especially animals ingesting plastic,” added Mathur. The first phase of the project will go on till monsoon and the second phase will start from October.

GS Rawat, a senior scientist and dean at Dehradun based Wildlife Institute of India, said, “With this project our aim is to see what best can be done to minimise pollution caused due to plastic after the source and the sink is identified.”

Speaking on the idea behind the project, Rawat said, “Globally it has become a phenomenon now that several rivers are bringing a lot of plastic waste to the seas, because of which oceans have become like garbage dumps. With this idea in mind, NGS showed interest in carrying out a quantification of plastic in Ganga and collaborated with WII for the project.”

The director also said that after the study is completed, the observations will be shared with different stake holders such as the industries, hospitals, locals to prevent the rising plastic pollution in rivers.

For the study, NGS has identified scientists from across the world who would be studying the different sampling locations which have already been identified by WII. These sampling locations have been identified based on the kind of marine animals found.

First Published: Apr 15, 2019 16:43 IST