Removal of marine litter and its impact along the coast of India


  • National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Chennai 600 025, India
  • National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Chennai 600 025, India
  • National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Chennai 600 025, India
  • National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Chennai 600 025, India



Marine Litter, Coastal ecosystems, Lifestyle for the Environment, Marine Litter Management, Blue Economy


In numerous Mann Ki Baat episodes, the Hon’ble Prime Minister highlighted the problems of plastics and marine litter. These episodes are inspiring for assessing the impacts of marine litter, their transport pathways, and the existing measures taken by the Government of India to combat these issues. Marine litter includes all synthetic materials that are discarded or abandoned in the marine environment, which is sourced to the sea through riverine systems. It is estimated that 0.6 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the Indian Ocean each year through various land-based (littering, dumping, tourism, recreation, surface run-off) and sea-based (fishing, aquaculture, shipping, coastal dumping, oil and gas exploration) activities. The marine litter accumulated in the Indian Ocean forms a “garbage patch†and also acts as a transboundary source. Marine litter negatively affects the environment, ecology, public health, climate, and economy. It is well known that the emergence of marine litter, especially plastic, has been a global problem for the past two decades and that its cost to society and the marine environment is enormous and irreversible. The Prime Minister of India led the country by example during the historic plogging at Mamallapuram and also urged the citizens to actively participate in coastal clean-up activities to remove litter from the coastal and beach areas of the country. At the national level, various campaigns (Swachha Sagar Abhiyan, Suchitwa Sagaram, Swachch Sagar, and Surakshit Sagar) are conducted to overcome the marine litter pollution along India’s coast. Swachch Sagar Surakshit Sagar (1500 tonnes of litter removed from 75 beaches) and Puneet Sagar Abhiyan (100 tonnes of plastics removed, out of which about 60 tonnes of plastics were recycled) are some of the initiatives in India. Community action is successful in the removal of marine litter, as seen at Vengurla (a landfill converted to Swachh Bharat Waste Park) and Versova (5 million Kg of plastic removed), Maharashtra. The article highlights some of the best litter management practices in India, such as LiFE- Lifestyle for Environment, which encourages individuals to adopt sustainable practises, such as eco-labelling of beaches, trash booms in urban rivers, implementing the polluter pays principle, ensuring healthy oceans, and promoting a sustainable blue economy.


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How to Cite

Robin, R. S., Karthik, R., Nithin, A., & Purvaja, R. (2023). Removal of marine litter and its impact along the coast of India. Records of the Zoological Survey of India, 123(1S), 67–86.


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