Chennai: Micro bead pollution might not be a popular word in the environmental lexicon now, but activists believe it will emerge as a major threat to the aquatic habitat in the next 20 years. The magnitude of the destruction to marine life would be rather more intense, with the plastics added to water bodies along with e-waste. None of the water bodies including Adyar and Cooum would be spared from the pollution, say experts.
Microbeads, which are commonly witnessed in skin exfoliating products, do not undergo biodegradation – making its way from bathrooms to sewage pumping stations into the water bodies. The polyethylene or polypropylene particles are capable of wiping away the fish species, said professor Nagendran, former member of the National Green Tribunal at the second day of Chennai Water Forum.
“The tiny balls of plastic are highly consumed by the young aquatic animals, as they resemble eggs of fish. In ideal conditions, many fish species prefer to consume microbeads than other food particles,” informed Professor Nagendran.
Every water body that carries sewage accommodate micro plastics, he said, adding that the high consumption of microbeads would cause lung related problems to humans. “At every level it gets magnified, the food chain gets affected. It is requisite to conduct bacteriological analyses before consuming water,” added Nagendran.
What are Microbeads
Microbeads, are tiny balls made of chemicals, often found in cosmetics such as skin exfoliators and toothpastes and are not always water soluble. They get washed away straight into the sewage water.