The Ganga’s message

SourceThe Hindu

Relevance: India must take its laws on waste seriously to stop microplastics pollution.

Synopsis: Microplastic pollution around the world demands the proper implementation of existing laws and global collaboration.


The Ganga might have stood witness to many stages of India’s civilisation. But in recent decades it has become a conduit for sewage, solid waste, industrial effluents, and other pollutants.

But the recent study by a Delhi-based environment NGO highlighted heavy microplastic pollution in Ganga at Haridwar, Kanpur, and Varanasi. These range from tyres, clothing, food packaging, cosmetics with microbeads, garland covers, and other municipal waste.

The study also finds that there are significant levels of microscopic particles invisible to the naked eye at below 300 micrometers to 5 millimeters.

Read more: Analysis by NGO reveals microplastics in Ganga
Other challenges with the Ganga:

Official data indicates that 97 Ganga towns may be discharging about 750 million litres of untreated sewage a day into the river.

This questions the progress of two high-priority, well-funded missions (Swachh Bharat (to deal with solid waste) and Namami Gange (to rid the river of its pollution)).

Reason for microplastic increase in Ganga:

The Centre recently issued a draft to tighten the Plastic Waste Management Rules, but cities have failed to implement existing rules.

Similarly, the Solid Waste Management Rules, on ending single-use plastics, waste segregation, recycling labels on packaging, extended producer responsibility for manufacturers, and recovery of materials were not implemented properly.

The threat of Microplastics:

Microplastics, recorded in recent times in the remotest of places — Mount Everest, Arctic snow, and the depths of the Mariana Trench, etc. Microplastics pose a hazard as plastics production outpaces the ability of governments to collect and manage waste.


Plastic wastes around the world are threatening the food web, and the crisis demands a new global treaty modeled on the Montreal Protocol and the Paris Agreement.


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