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Assessment of microplastics in coral reef ecosystem of Gulf of Mannar, India
by Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute (SDMRI) (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
Gulf of Mannar (GoM) is one of the four major coral reef regions in India. In this region the reefs are distributed around twenty-one uninhabited islands spread across 160 km along the coast between Rameswaram and Tuticorin. The average distance between the shore and the islands is about 8 km and the reefs are easily accessible. The coast is densely populated and over 100,000 small-scale fisher folk depend solely on the reef associated fishery for their livelihood. In the coastal areas of GoM there is a reported increase of about 34% in population during the period between 1989 and 2009.

The coast is polluted by the dumping of solid wastes including plastics and the discharge of untreated domestic wastewater into the sea. Plastic items break down into smaller pieces and further degrade into microscale plastics. Such microplastics have been detected in organisms at all levels of the marine food chain. Microplastics, being perilous pollutants, spoil the sea environment and reduce the quality of the marine ecosystems.

The present study is undertaken to assess the microplastic contamination of the sediment and water along the coast of Gulf of Mannar and also around the islands (both shoreward and seaward sides), and to document the abundance and distribution of the contaminants as well as the characterization and chemical weathering. The following are the objectives:

1. To assess the abundance and distribution of microplastics in the sediment and water in coral reef ecosystem of Gulf of Mannar.

2. To study the polymer composition, chemical weathering and surface morphology of microplastics

3. To suggest appropriate management practices to conservation managers and policy makers in order to reduce the impacts of microplastics.
Progress reports
14.1
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
30 Sep. 2019
Information on the chemical weathering and surface morphology of microplastics to identify the settling of hydrophobic pollutants.
31 Aug. 2019
Information on the sources of microplastic pollution from the data on the polymer composition.
31 July 2019
Baseline data on the abundance and distribution of microplastics in the coral reef areas of Gulf of Mannar, India.
31 Oct. 2019
Report with collected data and management suggestions to reduce the impacts of microplastics in reef ecosystem.
Staff / Technical expertise
SDMRI
In-kind contribution
SDMRI
Basic information
Time-frame: 01 Apr 2019 - 31 Oct. 2019
Partners
Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute (SDMRI) (Non-governmental organization), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India (Government) Tamil Nadu Forest Department, Government of Tamil Nadu (Government) Tamil Nadu Environment Department, Government of Tamil Nadu (Government)
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Conservation Managers of Indian Reef Areas; Reef Researchers; Government of India; Government of Tamil Nadu
Contact information
Edward JK Patterson, Director, edwardjkpatterson@sdmri.in, +91 461 2336488
Tuticorin/Tamil Nadu, India
Other SDGs
United Nations