Environment

Combined Flows Send up to 3 Billion Microplastics a Day Into Bay of Bengal

The Ganges River – with the combined flows of the Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers – could be responsible for up to 3 billion microplastic particles entering the Bay of Bengal every day, according to new research.

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The study represents the first investigation of microplastic abundance, characteristics and seasonal variation along the river and was conducted using samples collected by an international team of scientists as part of the National Geographic Society's Sea to Source: Ganges expedition.

Over two expeditions in 2019, 120 samples (60 each in pre- and post-monsoon conditions) were gathered at 10 sites by pumping river water through a mesh filter to capture any particles.

The samples were then analysed in laboratories at the University of Plymouth with microplastics found in 43 (71.6%) of the samples taken pre-monsoon, and 37 (61.6%) post-monsoon.

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