From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Read the attached story
Mains level : Plastic pollution in A&N Islands
- The pristine beaches of the Great Nicobar Island, India’s southernmost territory are under threat from plastic.
Foreign litter in India
- A survey of five beaches in the islands recorded the presence of plastic bottles.Sixty of these were analysed and found to be of ‘non-Indian origin.’
- About 10 countries including India contributed to the plastic litter in the island. They were Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, India, Myanmar, China and Japan.
- Major portion of the litter (40.5%) was of Malaysian origin.
- It was followed by Indonesia (23.9%) and Thailand (16.3%). Other countries contributed a minor portion.
- The litter of Indian origin only amounted to 2.2%.
Proximity to island
- The overwhelming contribution from Indonesia and Thailand was likely due to its proximity to the island.
- The plastic is likely to have made its way to the island because of water currents via the Malacca Strait, which is a major shipping route.
- The huge quantities of marine debris observed on this island might be due to improper handling of the solid waste from fishing/mariculture activity and ship traffic.
Strain of domestic tourism
- However, the researchers also point out that litter of Indian origin on beaches and mangroves of the Andaman Islands is continuously increasing.
- This is probably due to lack of proper guidelines and inadequate staff to monitor these islands.
About Great Nicobar Island
- The Great Nicobar Island of Andaman has an area of about 1044 sq. km. According to the 2011 census, has a population of about 8,069.
- The island is home to one of the most primitive tribes of India — the Shompens.
- The island includes the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve (GNBR) comprising of the Galathea National Park and the Campbell Bay National Park.
- The island harbours a wide spectrum of ecosystems from tropical wet evergreen forests, mountain ranges and coastal plains.
- The island is also home to giant robber crabs, crab-eating macaques, the rare megapode as well as leatherback turtles.