Plastic pollution is a key environment hazard in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), according to Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, who said that keeping track of plastic pollution is a challenge for the Indian Coast Guard.
Kumar was speaking at the ongoing National Marine Pollution Exercise in Goa.
“The Indian Ocean is one of the fastest growing regions of the world. However, today, all these activities happening around the Indian Ocean have also made it one of the most polluted oceans in the world. A recent study by the World Bank states that the Indian Ocean Region is today the second most polluted region in the world,” Kumar said in his address at the event.
“We are here focused on oil spills, which is so relevant both because this region is increasingly becoming a source of oil exploration as well as because so much of oil is transiting through this region. I have been told today that the Indian Coast Guard has graduated to a level where it can handle oil spills of the range of 700 tonnes and above, which only few countries in the region and in the world are capable of,” the Defence Secretary said.
Quoting a study, the bureaucrat said that nearly 15 million tonnes of plastic finds its way into the Indian Ocean.
“But I would also like to mention that the response to pollution is equally large with respect to plastics in the ocean. According to a study, nearly 15 million tonnes of plastic is making its way into the Indian Ocean Region. Every year, we have nearly 1.5 trillion pieces of plastic, some of them coagulated into islands, threatening our various ecologically sensitive coral reef regions, which poses massive environmental threats,” he said, adding that the plastic pollution threat is a key challenge for the Indian Coast Guard.