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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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According To An Oxford Study: Plastic Debris On Seychelles’ Shores Mostly Comes From Asia

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The University of Oxford has carried out a study of marine debris for Seychelles and other remote islands in the western Indian Ocean, It has been found that the primary source of plastic debris washing up on the shores of Seychelles’ beaches primarily originates from Indonesia, followed by India and Sri Lanka..The study is the first to produce a quantitative estimate of the sources of plastic debris washing up on these shores. This information comes from the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), following the report of the researcher Noam Vogt-Vincent.

“But a startling number of bottles discovered on Aldabra were imported from nations like China and Thailand, and no believable current or wave patterns could explain how this trash got to Aldabra. Therefore, rather than coming from the mainland directly, it is more likely that most of these bottles were illegally dumped from ships traveling through the Indian Ocean,” he explained. The remote Aldabra atoll is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.

The University of Oxford performed a worldwide marine dispersal simulation that mimicked the spread of plastic trash across the world’s oceans to look into the origin of the garbage. The study forecast the build-up of plastic debris at 27 sites in Seychelles and the wider western Indian Ocean using data on ocean currents, waves, and winds. Plastic debris entering the ocean from coastal populations, rivers, and fisheries was also considered.

In his report, Vogt-Vincent said: “We have combined observational data from across Seychelles with cutting-edge computer simulations to generate the most comprehensive predictions currently available for marine litter dispersal in the region.” He added that “this would provide vital information for local management on these islands – many of which are global biodiversity hotspots – and to inform national and international responses.” For marine ecosystems and the communities that depend on the ocean for food, tourism, and other economic activities, plastic pollution poses a serious threat.

The study also shows a correlation between the monsoon seasons and the rates at which this debris showed up on the beaches. When the northwest monsoon ended, debris landings increased, culminating between March and April. “These islands are faced with the extremely unfair predicament of incurring the costs of removing waste they were not responsible for generating, contrary to the “polluter country “principle,” the study’s co-author April Burt said.

Our research has shown that the majority of the plastic waste that builds up on these remote islands originates from distant sources, and this should be the first step in the right direction toward accountability and prevention, according to Burt.

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