Synergetic effects of marine litter and climate change in coastal and marine ecosystems


  • 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



Climate change, Marine litter, Citizen science, Litter management policies


The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India has emphasised issues related to marine litter and plastics, in particular, through the Mann Ki Baat programme. In his nation-wide address to the common man, he emphasised the effects of interactions between marine litter and environmental health. These episodes were inspiring forassessing a new dimension of the synergistic effects of marine litter and climate change. Marine litter and climate change are closely linked in ways that vary between areas depending on the environment and human activity. Globally, around 10% of all plastics manufactured are recycled, with the remaining being incinerated (12%), landfilled (79%), or lost to the environment. These discarded or lost plastics eventually end up in the oceans. India generates ~9.4 million metric tonnes per annum of plastic waste (i.e., 26,000 tonnes of waste per day), and out of this, ~5.6 million tonnes per annum of plastic waste are recycled (i.e., 15,600 tonnes of waste per day), and 3.8 million tonnes per annum of plastic waste are left uncollected or littered (9,400 tonnes of waste per day). An estimated 15 million metric tonnes of plastic make their way into the Indian Ocean each year. The coastal areas of India are influenced by plastic pollution, which causes harm to marine flora and fauna. It is well known that the emergence of marine litter, especially plastic, has been a transboundary and multi-sectoral global problem for the past two decades and that its cost to society and the marine and coastal environment is enormous and irreversible. The article aims to highlight the combined impact of climate change and marine litter on the Indian subcontinent. Coastal communities are particularly susceptible to the converging impacts of litter and climate change. The government of India is taking steps in the right direction to combat the issue of plastic pollution. Some of the initiatives include the ban on single-use plastics and the citizen science approach (the coastal clean-up drive under the SwachchSagarSurakshitSagar, where 1500 metric tonnes of litter were removed) for coastal conservation in India. Stable changes have been observed throughout the coast, and these approaches with policy recommendations would help to improve the coastal and marine ecosystems health.


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How to Cite

R.S., R., R., K., A., N., & R., P. (2023). Synergetic effects of marine litter and climate change in coastal and marine ecosystems. Records of the Zoological Survey of India, 123(1S), 45–65.


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