According to industry body FICCI, 43 percent of India’s plastics are used in packaging and are single-use plastic. After being used, most of these plastic particles reaches oceans, where it harms the sea animals and marine wildlife.
While the use of plastic is degrading the environment, fisherfolk in Kerala are pulling back plastic from the oceans.
Aimed at reducing plastic waste accumulation in the sea, Kerala state government in 2017 flagged off an ambitious Suchitwa Sagaram (Clean Sea) project under Kerala’s fisheries minister J. Mercykutty Amma’s direction.
Until recently the fishermen would simply throw the plastic particles back into the water when they get plastic along with fish while dragging nets. But now besides preventing dumping of plastic waste into the sea, fisherman are collecting and bringing ashore the plastic materials netted during fishing under the project.
According to a UN report, in the first 10 months, fisherman have removed 25 tonnes of plastic from the Arabian Sea, including 10 tonnes of plastic bags and bottles.
Once all the plastic waste collected by the fisherfolk reaches the seashore, it will be taken by people from the local fishing community and fed into a plastic shredding machine. This will be converted into the material which is used for road surfacing.