Summary of Abstract Submission

Abstract Submission No. IO50-03-0008PresentationOral

OCCURRENCE AND DISTRIBUTION OF PLASTIC DEBRIS ON THE MARINA BEACH, CHENNAI, EAST COAST OF INDIA: SPECTROSCOPIC AND HYDRODYNAMIC MODELLING APPROACH

S. Veerasingam*1, P. Vethamony1, M. Mugilarasan2, R. Venkatachalapathy2

1 CSIR ¿ National Institute of Oceanography, Dona Paula,Goa¿403004 , India
2 Faculty of Marine Sciences, Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu - 608502, India

ABSTRACT :

The accumulation of plastic debris is a major environmental problem throughout the world oceans including coastal regions and beaches. Though India has a long coastline of 7517 km along with 43% of sandy beaches, data on plastic debris accumulation and their pathways are scanty. The quantity, size distribution and pathway of plastic debris in the intertidal sediments and offshore waters of Marina beach have been assessed from the data collected during November 2013, January 2014 and May 2014 through field surveys, spectroscopic techniques and hydrodynamic modelling. The concentration of plastic debris in waters was estimated using neuston net tows; Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy results indicated that the polymer types in Marina beach are polyethylene, polypropylene, polyurethane, nylon, polystyrene, and polyester. The size and quantity of macro (> 20mm) and meso-plastics (5¿20 mm) gradually increased close to the coast, irrespective of the existence of Cooum and Adyar rivers, which act as major sources of anthropogenic marine debris. Moreover, micro-plastics (< 5 mm) were more dominant as we moved further offshore. To understand the role of hydrodynamics on fragmentation process of plastic debris, a two dimensional hydrodynamic model was setup and validated with the field data successfully. A hydrodynamic model coupled with particle-track model was used to interpret the distribution of plastic fragments and the possible transport processes in coastal waters. Polyethylene was more prevalent in Marina beach sediments ¿ a potential threat to marine biodiversity.