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Microplastic found in fish of Alaknanda. Rivers in plains must be worse: Experts

Dehradun: Plastic fibers and particles were recently found in the guts of fishes in the Alaknanda river by a team of researchers at Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University. The samples were sent to IIT-Roorkee and a public lab in Chandigarh, where analysis confirmed the presence of microplastic in the fish.
To find out the type of plastic and its source in the river, researchers have now decided to collaborate with IIT-Mumbai.
"There were a lot of nano and microparticles present in the sample and to understand them, we are planning to expand the scope of this work by sharing details with IIT-Mumbai," said Neha Butola, a researcher associated with the study.
Alaknanda is a major stream of the river Ganga. Researchers expressed apprehension saying that "if it is polluted up there, then what must be the situation in the plains?"
Incidentally, the same research team had earlier found "955 microplastics in the water and sediment samples of Alaknanda collected from five different places." They had indicated that the presence of such fine size plastic particles increases the effect of interaction with aquatic organisms, and had cautioned that "this possesses a greater risk to aquatic life."
Waste is being ingested by aquatic species: Researchers
In the present study, researchers had procured fish from local fishermen on the banks of Alaknanda and found "things ranging from nylon threads to plastic microparticles in the gut." This indicates that the mountain river is also polluted and waste is being ingested by aquatic species of the river, researchers said.
Dr. JS Chauhan, in charge, of the department of Himalayan Aquatic Biodiversity, said, "We had sent the samples for further analysis to the Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee and a public lab at Chandigarh. The findings are the same. Prior to this, our study had established that the water, as well as the sediments of Alaknanda river stretch, are polluted."

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