The ocean is filled with plastic. In 2010, there were an estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic in the oceans across the world. This is a growing concern as it poses a serious threat to marine lives. Pictures of sea creatures stranded in plastic are surfacing on a daily basis.
Kerala is a state that consumes a lot of fish. With the increase in the amount of plastic in the ocean, the future is not far when the plastic will slowly seep into the human food chain. Concerned over this, in 2017, Suchitwa Sagaram (Clean sea) Mission was flagged off by the Fisheries Minister of Kerala, J Mercykutty Amma.
This is an initiative that promises that no plastic material would be disposed in the ocean and also all forms of plastic materials in the sea or ones which get entangled in the nets while fishing will be cleaned.
The fishing community settled along the Neendakara harbor in Kollam undertook the responsibility of recovering plastic waste along the coast. Their participation was self-driven due to the urge of keeping the ocean and surrounding places clean.
28 people from the community are directly involved in the process of retrieving plastic from the coast. Previously, they would dispose of the plastic debris, that would get caught in the nets and then go back into the sea. Now, they pay extra attention to the plastic that would come up in the nets.
“So far, 10 tonnes of plastic bags and plastic bottles and 15 tonnes of discarded nets, plastic ropes and other plastic items from the sea have been removed by the fishermen. Even though it is a small group, they have freed the sea from 25 tonnes of plastic waste,” Johnson Premkumar, the programme officer for training under the initiative, was quoted as saying by a UN website.
The best part of the initiative is that the entire plastic that is collected is recycled. After the waste is collected, it is turned into a material for road surfacing by putting the plastic through a shredder.
The Logical Indian appreciates the initiative by the Kerala government. Plastic is a dangerous material and is non-biodegradable. We hope that other state governments take notice of this initiative, get inspired and adopt such plans.