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Micro plastics in aquifers near waste dumping yards of Chennai, Study

Chennai, June 15(BPNS)

A study conducted by a team of researchers from Anna University and St Josephs college of Engineering, Chennai has detected the presence of microplastics in water bodies near the corporation’s waste dumping yards.

The micro plastics measuring less than 5mm was found in water sources near the Corporation dumping yards of Peungudi and Kodungaiyur.

The study found that in every in litre of the water source within 1km to 2 km of these two dump yards there was the presence of 2 to 80 microplastic particles were detected. These microplastics, according to the research team would have made their way into the groundwater after major plastics were broken down due to weathering and would have entered into the aquifers through the waste in the dumping yards.

The microplastics could cause health problems to those who drink water from these aquifers and it will also make its way to the sea along with the groundwater harming the marine ecosystem and ecology.

K Manikanda Bharath who was the corresponding author of the study while speaking to BPNS said, “ The maximum microplastic samples we found in 1 litre water in Kodungayur was 23 but in Peringudi it was 80. This is owing to the fact that Perungudi yard is on marshland and water is available through the year and these microplastics go down into the groundwater along with the water in the marshland.”

He also said “With  houses across the city using single use surgical masks and N95 masks the proportion of these microplastics entering the water bodies could be much higher in the days to come”

Doctors also warned that drinking water contaminated with microplastics could lead to skin ailments, ulcers, and in some people serious respiratory illness.

Dr. Ramesh Chandradas, a gastroenterologist with a leading private hospital in Chennai while speaking to IANS said, “Regular usage of water with microplastics would lead to the formation of ulcers as well as intestinal issues and can also become cancerous in the long run.”

The study also found that of the 4500 tonnes of solid waste generated daily in the Chennai corporation 7.5% is plastic waste. Of the fifteen zones in Chennai corporation, waste from 8 zones are dumped in Kodungaiyur while the remaining 7 zones dump it at Perungudi.

Dr. Suchithra Menon, Scientist and independent researcher on biowastes while speaking to BPNS said, “ In the west, they have developed a system wherein biomining is used wherein you can extract metals from e-waste and the rest of the solid waste can be used to generate biogas. Also dumping in open yards is an issue to be taken care of in war footing for a healthy environment and thereby a healthy society.”