Marine litter on the beaches of the Kanyakumari, Southern India: An assessment of their abundance and pollution indices
The problem of marine litter is increasing along the Indian coast. For conducting a baseline study to identify and assess the abundance, clean-coast index (CCI), and plastics abundance index (PAI) of marine litter were calculated on the beaches of Kanyakumari, Southern India. A total of 11439 marine litter items were collected and classified into 33 groups along the 7 beaches of Kanyakumari. From the results, plastics were the most abundant items (65.08%) followed by foam (21.93%), along with cloths (4.59%), rubber (3.09%), papers (2.26%), glass (2.16%), metal (0.38%), wood (0.26%), and others (0.26%). The average CCI value (27.24) indicates that all beaches are ‘extremely dirty’; however, the PAI average value (4.37) indicates ‘high abundance’. About 96.87% of the marine litter originates from the land-based sources. This study provides an interpretive framework for further plastic pollution assessment, which could lead to a better marine litter management on Indian beaches.