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  • Context (DTE): Plastic pellets are washing up on the beaches of Maharashtra.
  • Plastic pellets (or nurdles) are tiny 1-5 mm beads made by petrochemical companies.
  • They act as raw materials for the plastic industry to manufacture products.
  • They can be made from polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, and polyvinyl chloride.
  • Sources of plastic pellet pollution: Leak from various sources, including production facilities, transportation, storage, and recycling activities. (They are not the result of littering by citizens.)
  • Challenge: Cleaning up pellets is tougher than regular beach clean-up due to their small size.

Plastic pellets

Chronic and Acute Pellet Spills: Reason Behind Marine Plastic Pellet Pollution

  • Plastic pellets are transported from one country to another through the marine route.
  • Major exporters of plastic pellets are the US, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea.
  • India is the sixth-largest importer of plastic pellets. Majority of plastic pellets are imported into India from West Asian countries like the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
  • Plastic pellets were found in marine waters near the shipping route of plastic pellets.
  • The primary shipping route between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and China is via the Indian Ocean.
  • 80% of the spills were caused by leakage from the plastic industry or the transportation partner, while recyclers contributed to less than 3%.

Plastic Pellets along the shipping routes

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