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CSIR-NIO study: Microplastics a threat to plains

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 21-03-2024
CSIR-NIO study: Microplastics a threat to plains Science 6 min read

Recently, a study conducted by Goa-based CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) revealed that 'microplastic' is a threat to the plains. This study has been done by CSIR-NIO based in Goa on Ganga and Yamuna rivers.

Research published in 'Journal of Hazardous Materials':

  • The research titled 'A comprehensive assessment of macro and microplastics from Ganga and Yamuna rivers: unveiling seasonal, spatial, and risk factors' has been published in the 'Journal of Hazardous Materials'.
  • This study has revealed that the polymers present in microplastics can pose a threat to the plains of the Indus-Ganga.
  • The researchers have also shared their findings with the concerned municipal corporations. So that these microplastics can be prevented from reaching various water sources. Along with this, researchers have also given suggestions to make separate action plans for each area.

Research conducted under leadership of Dr. Mahua Saha of CSIR-NIO:

  • This research work has been done under the leadership of Dr. Mahua Saha, chief scientist of CSIR-NIO. According to this research, microplastics were detected in Ganga from Haridwar to Patna.

Main points of research:

  • The concentration of pollution was higher during the rainy season than during the dry season.
  • It says that the high-risk polymers in microplastics can pose a threat to the plains of the Indus-Ganga.
  • The highest abundance of microplastics was found in Haridwar and the least in Patna.
  • Microplastics have properties that can increase the amount of sand that flows naturally.

Maximum microplastic leakage in Agra:

  • The researchers also identified areas vulnerable to plastic leakage using GIS applications and field surveys.
  • The abundance of microplastics in surface water, water columns and sediments of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers varies during wet and dry seasons.
  • During the dry season, microplastic abundance was highest in Agra, while Patna and Haridwar had the lowest concentrations.
  • The highest plastic leakage was recorded in Agra, followed by Prayagraj, Patna and Haridwar.
  • It was observed that during the dry season, waste was brought by the river from the upper cities and deposited in the flood area. These wastes get washed away in the rain. These macroplastics may later break down into smaller pieces and reach nearby river systems through urban runoff.

About Microplastics:

  • These are tiny plastic particles found in the environment due to the disposal and breakdown of consumer goods and industrial waste. These are small pieces of plastic less than five millimeters long which are harmful to the ocean and aquatic life.

About Indus Ganga plains:

  • The plains of the Indus-Ganges are also called the Northern Plains and the North Indian River Region. This is a vast and fertile plain area. This region encompasses a large part of northern and eastern India. This vast plain includes the most populated areas of Pakistan, some areas of southern Nepal and almost the entire Bangladesh.

About Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR):

  • CSIR is India's largest research and development organization. It is an all India institute.
  • CSIR Established: September 1942
  • CSIR Headquarters: New Delhi
  • CSIR Chairman: Prime Minister of India (ex-officio Chairman)
  • CSIR Vice-Chairman: Union Minister of Science and Technology (ex-officio Vice-Chairman)
  • CSIR Governing Body/Board of Directors: The Director General is the head of the Governing Body.
  • CSIR comprises an active network of 37 national laboratories, 39 remote centres, 3 innovation campuses and 5 units.
  • CSIR is financially supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology and operates as an autonomous entity under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  • Director of CSIR-NIO: Prof. Sunil Kumar Singh


Answer: CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO)

Answer: Ganga and Yamuna rivers

Answer: September 1942
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