Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India

Volume 59 Issue 1

Prevalence of marine litter along the Indian beaches : A preliminary account on its status and composition

P. Kaladharan, K. Vijayakumaran, V. V. Singh, D. Prema, P. S. Asha, Bindu Sulochanan, P. Hemasankari, L. Loveson Edward, Shelton Padua, S. Veena, A. Anasukoya and H. M. Bhint

Beach litter are man-made objects discarded directly or indirectly. This  study brings out synoptic picture of status and composition of beach litter from 254 selected beaches along the maritime States of Peninsular coast of India as well as the Union Territories of Andaman and Lakshadweep Islands from the one time observation conducted between October 2013 and January 2014 for the first time. These beaches were classified and graded ith colour codes according to the levels of beach litter. Beach litter from different maritime States and the UTs showed that Odisha coast has the lowest (0.31 g/m2) quantity and Goa coast (205.75 g/m2) the highest quantity of beach debris. Archipelagic coasts of Andamans as well as Lakshadweep recorded values higher than Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal. Samples of debris collected from beaches revealed that all the items were domestic and anthropogenic discards. Plastic litters such as single use carry bags and sachets of soft drinks, edible oils, detergents, beverages, cases of cosmetics, toothpaste, PET bottles, ice cream containers etc., recorded highest mean of 25.47g/m2 from Goa coast and the lowest (0.08 g/m2) from Odisha. The relative percentage of mean values of plastic (B group) items in beach debris along the Indian coast registered highest mean percentage from Maharashtra (81 %) and the lowest mean from beaches of Andhra Pradesh (7%). The two island Union Territories registered 40% (Lakshadweep) and 47% (Andamans) of plastics over the total debris, while the national average was only 14%. 

Out of the total 254 beaches surveyed, 51 beaches were graded as very clean with green (<1 g/m2) colour, 122 beaches were graded as Clean and depicted by blue colour. Beaches of very clean grade (<1 g/m2) were found in Kerala (17), Maharashtra (12), Tamil Nadu (2), Andhra Pradesh (4), Odisha (7) and West Bengal (3). Whereas extremely littered beaches (>100 g/m2) were found in Karnataka (13), Goa, Gujarat, and Andaman Island. With reference to the coastal population and per capita share of beach debris, Goa registered highest values (40.97 kg/head) and the Odisha coast registered the lowest values (0.005 kg/head).


Beach litter, e-waste, coastal debris, plastic pollution, ingestion

Date : 30-06-2017