Ocean dumping of plastics has turned into a serial killer for several marine species particularly large fish like sharks and dolphins all along the North Andhra Coast.

The indiscriminate dumping of plastic waste, thermo coal plates and other items are swallowed by large fishes mistaking it as prey. Within the abdomen it will not degrade causing life-threatening infections.

“Fish consuming plastic material die soon. After death, they release into ocean waters thermo coal, carry bags, polystyrene cups and other non-degradable waste after scavenging fish consume them. In the process, other fish consume them. The cycle continues killing more and more fish,” E.U.B. Reddy, professor in environmental sciences in Andhra University, told The Hindu on Monday.

On finding of dead fish in large numbers in the coast near Tikkavanipalem, Bhimunipatnam and other areas, he said dumping of industrial effluents into the sea was also a matter of serious concern.

Several chemical units, which are shifting their operations from Patancheru to Visakhapatnam find it convenient to dump effluents indiscriminately into the sea despite on-record claim on release of treated effluents, he alleged.

“Death of young fish is also occurring due to release of seawater after use by a coal-fired thermal plant – which raises the water temperature by six degree centigrade. The hot water expels dissolved oxygen in water as a result marine life in the area will suffer oxygen deficiency,” Prof. Reddy says.

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a report released sometime ago had pointed out that popular varieties of fish consumed locally and exported to Kolkata and other markets were laced with high quantity of mercury affecting human health.

Fishermen are also complaining of becoming victims due to alarming level of ocean pollution. “We used to get assured catch between Pudimadaka and Annavaram about five years ago. Now none is venturing to fish in that area due to depletion in catch, thanks to industrial effluents and plastic dumping,” points out Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy, president, Dolphin Boat Operators' Welfare Association.

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