Investigations on microplastics in the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems of southwest Karnataka

Project in charge: Dr Anish Kumar Warrier

Thematic Area: Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences

Principal Investigator(s): Dr Anish Kumar Warrier 

Research Fellow (s): Ms. Amrutha, K., Mr. Gokul Valsan, Mr. Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Ms. Ashwathi, C.

National partners: (If any): Dr Priya M D’Costa (Goa University) / Dr Ravidas K Naik (NCPOR, Goa)

MAHE Partner: Manipal Institute of Technology

Village/City: Manipal

Project Duration: July 2018 to Present

Aim: To study the occurrence, distribution and fate of microplastics in the soil, riverine, mangrove, and estuarine environments of southwest Karnataka.

The study/ Innovation:

The non-biodegradable nature of microplastics (MPs), their ability to adsorb various environmental pollutants, and the subsequent transfer to the food chain make them a serious threat to the ecosystem. Approximately 40% of the total plastic wastes generated (9.4 million tonnes per annum) are either landfilled, left unnoticed, or littered. These plastic wastes disintegrate to form MPs or nanoplastics and retain them in nature and may create a long-term negative impact on the ecosystem. Recently, microplastic pollution has attracted widespread attention in India. Microplastics have been reported from different coastal environments in India. India has a coastline of 7516.6 Km, and according to a report published by United Nations Environment Programme, India dumps nearly 0.6 million tons of plastic waste into the ocean annually. Microplastics in these environment causes a negative impact on lives thriving here. Therefore, the sources of these materials in the marine environment need to be well-studied. The Environmental Microplastics group at the Department of Civil Engineering, Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), is concentrating on the impacts of microplastic pollution on rivers, estuaries, lakes, beaches, soils, and mangrove systems in coastal Karnataka and Kerala. The group is trying to assess the abundance, distribution, and degree of degradation of MPs in the various compartments of these environments. This will help in identifying plastic hotspots and develop strategies to control plastic pollution at its starting stage itself.

Categories of microplastics found in the sediments from St. Mary’s Island, Udupi (Khaleel et al., 2022).


Link to Research Publication (if any with DOI) – 

R Khaleel, G Valsan, N Rangel-Buitrago, AK Warrier (2022). Hidden problems in geological heritage sites: The microplastic issue on Saint Mary's Island, India, Southeast Arabian Sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 182, 114043, (Impact factor: 7.001; Q1),

Warrier, A.K., Bhavani, K., Amrutha, K., Dhanasree J., Gokul V., Prashansa, A. (2022). Seasonal Variations in the Abundance and Distribution of Anthropogenic Particles in the Surface Waters of a Southern Indian Lake. Chemosphere, v. 300, 134556 (IF: 8.943; Q1)

Waldschläger, K., Brückner, M., Carney Almroth, B., Hackney, C., Adyel, T., Alimi, S. O. Belontz, S., Cowger, W., Doyle, D., Gray, A., Kane, I., Kooi, M., Kramer, M., Lechthaler, S., Michie, L., Nordam, T., Pohl, F., Russell, C., Thit, A., Umar, W., Valero, D., Varrani, A., Warrier, A.K., Woodall, C.L., Wu, N. Learning from natural sediments to tackle microplastics challenges: a multidisciplinary perspective. Earth-Science Reviews, v. 228, 104021 (Impact factor: 12.038; Q1) 

Amrutha, K., Vishnu, U., Sachin, S. and Warrier, A.K. (2021). Current State of Microplastics Research in SAARC Countries – A review. In: S. S. Muthu (ed.), Microplastic Pollution, Sustainable Textiles: Production, Processing, Manufacturing & Chemistry, Springer, Singapore

Chandran, T., Vishnu, U. and Warrier, A.K. (2021). Microplastics in Dentistry – A review. In: S. S. Muthu (ed.), Microplastic Pollution, Sustainable Textiles: Production, Processing, Manufacturing & Chemistry, Springer, Singapore

Amrutha, K. and Warrier, A.K. (2020). The first report on the source-to-sink characterization of microplastic pollution from a riverine environment in tropical India. Science of the Total Environment, v. 739, 140377, (Impact factor: 10.753; Q1)


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