Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India

Volume 62 Issue 1

Plastic pollution in the islands of Laccadive Archipelago and its possible impact on the atoll ecosystem

P. Kaladharan and A. Anasukoya

All the islands of Laccadive Archipelago including the inhabited ones are known comparatively less impacted from anthropogenic means as they are far and free from polluting industries. However, it is estimated that beach debris in ten of the inhabited islands show mean quantity of 10.567 g/m2 which includes PET and glass bottles, plastic carry bags, HDPE and nylon ropes, cement bags, net pieces, footwear and insulators like PUF, styrofoam and thermocol pieces when observed quarterly for one year period during October 2013 to September 2014. Minicoy Island accounted for maximum quantity (31.73 g/m2 ) and Kiltan Island accounted for minimum value (4.53 g/m2 ) of beach debris. Plastic thin carry bags and containers of household products account for 40% among the beach litter which is much higher than the national average of 14% reported for the entire coastline. The quantity of beach debris in the islands was proportional to the number of island population, except for Kavarathi Island which registered the maximum per capita share of 17.5 kg/head and the lowest (2.19 kg/head) by Kiltan Island. Thin carry bags and sheets smother over seagrass and seaweed beds and choke the macrophytes while damage the biota beneath. Upon photolysis over a period of time, these plastic bags can be fragmented and become microplastics. These tiny particles of plastics can enter into the food chain of fragile atoll ecosystem as well as can settle on the coral polyps which may lead to their mortality. The Island Administration can enforce strict legislation to discard plastics after use in designated places only and to encourage reuse, reduce and recycle the plastic materials.


Beach debris, microplastics, atoll ecosystem, plastic pollution, percapita share

Date : 30-07-2020