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Plastic pollution from fishing nets threatening Ganges wildlife: study

4th December, 2020 Environment

Context: Plastic pollution from discarded fishing gear in the Ganges River poses a threat to wildlife such as the critically endangered three-striped roofed turtle and the endangered Ganges river dolphin, according to an international team including researchers from the Wildlife Institute of India.

  • The Ganges River supports some of the world’s largest inland fisheries, but no research has been done to assess plastic pollution from this industry, and its impacts on wildlife.
  • The researchers used a list of 21 river species of “conservation concern” identified by the Wildlife Institute of India in Uttarakhand.
  • They combined existing information on entanglements of similar species worldwide with the new data on levels of waste fishing gear in the Ganges to estimate which species are most at risk.
  • The findings offer hope for solutions based on “circular economy” where waste is dramatically reduced by reusing materials.
  • A high proportion of the fishing gear was made of nylon 6, which is valuable and can be used to make products including carpets and clothing,”.
  • Collection and recycling of nylon 6 has strong potential as a solution because it would cut plastic pollution and provide an income.