How Karnataka Coastal communities can solve the marine debris issue 



Bargaining the ocean means compromising basic life.

Beings health, prosperity and secure climate depend on the health of ocean.

To act now on the ocean’s health is to advance sustainable growth, crucial for a more inclusive and peaceful world.

Now, fish is becoming more and more scarce, at the same time that plastic contamination leaking to the oceans is becoming more and more ubiquitous, thus terribly imperiling fish quality, number and size.

Without fish, fishermen and fisherwomen disappear.

Fish is the basic element of fisher folks activity.

Human trash that ends up in the ocean, also known as Marine debris, is a problem that has grown out of control since the introduction of plastic mass-packaging in the 50’s. Yet many people don’t realize the magnitude to which it is destroying (and changing) marine ecosystems and marine life.

Production of single-use, throw-away, plastic products, has created a global issue, not only in India. It is a complex social, economic and environmental problem, without boundaries. It threatens entire marine ecosystems, has enormous economic consequences and affects the livelihoods of millions of people.

Before irreversible damage is done to our seas NGOs all around the world are urging governments

  • to pass plastic reduction policies
  • to target industry to minimize and redesign plastic packaging
  • to call on consumers to change their throwaway habits

But here in India we have firstly, and immediately, to urge our government

  • to pass a comprehensive marine trash law
  • to start remediation actions for marine pollution (clean-ups of water drains, beaches, backwaters, rivers, mangroves)
  • to call individual behavioral change to reverse the current environmental impact



Samudra is not part of Bharat?

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan does not apply to it?

Ocean does not need any Policy, any Rules, for managing its trash?

Until when our “cleaning” government is going to accept, consent and approve that the ocean is the best, the easiest, the last disposing place for our wild trashing practices?

All know it is to the ocean that the visarjan at all water flows has come, is coming, and will come – sooner or later.

Until when visarjan will be the prevalent way of disposing trash at the coastal zones?

Khushi Parisara appreciates that both a lack of decision and criminal actions are hampering the common good and creating unacceptable situations of abuse and ruin of environment, with outrageous collateral damage to ocean. Actively or passively. By acting or by non-acting.

Now is the moment when Government and businesses have to account the importance of natural capital – because economic advance is not the same thing as human progress.

And, unavoidably, human progress has to target environmental priorities.

The absence of marine trash policy doesn’t befit, at all, a country emerging as a growing global superpower, with 7.500 kms of coast.



  1. Foundation of state policies on marine litter and marine literacy
  2. Full implementation of Solid & Plastic Waste Management Rules
  3. Provide full marine literacy of coastal communities
  4. Operationalize the disposal system of fish gears
  5. Set up a simple engineering waste catch system at rivers/backwaters outlet just before monsoon
  6. Create a platform for outreach of informal education sector
  7. Create good practices chart for
  • port authorities (civil and military),
  • fishermen
  • fisherwomen (household and fish markets level)
  1. Implement stewardship at coastal communities for discarded fishnets and domestic waste
  2. Launch new Incentives schemes for fishnet dealers and byers (e.g. discount on the of purchase a new fish net, if returning x discarded ones), for fish market packaging, for fish breaks composting, etc.



For Khushi Parisara, to tackle the problem of plastic in the ocean began on land, trying to stop the flow of trash at source, preventing it to reach there. And thus, we have consistently approached decision makers to implement the reduction of plastic use (mainly single-use plastics) and the collection for recycling of all plastics to reduce the amount of plastic waste that enters the ocean.

Khushi Parisara plans to launch a massive series of awareness raising activities (among distributors / retailers / consumers) targeting everyone from individuals to businesses, to change the products, practices and behaviours in order to avoid the generation of marine litter. We would like to intensively focus on the costs of inaction versus the costs and benefits of action.

Campaigns want to target business and citizens, embracing formal and informal education, with a particular emphasis on children and coastal communities, using different channels for outreaching, viz. traditional and social media, community science, etc.

We prioritize to urge people to observe their toxic choices and guide conscious efforts to make a healthy change. To enlighten people, young and old, to the plight of the oceans, to change the way they think and act, and to incite them to create positive and lasting change. Because a huge amount of ocean waste can be reduced if people simply become more aware of how their habits affect the world around them. Thus we are ready

  • to work through all clusters of the loop (information > knowledge > awareness > mindfulness > practice)
  • to promote gender oriented ocean literacy among fishermen and fisherwomen[1]
  • to assess local psycho-social-anthropological constrains for good practices to overcome them
  • to draw and propose time lined actions
  • to follow-up and monitor ensured by a volunteers team lead by Khushi Parisara.



  1. Foundation of state policies on marine litter and marine literacy [by 2018]
  2. Full implementation of Solid & Plastic Waste Management Rules [by 2018]
  3. Engineering system at rivers/backwaters outlet to catch trash washed up by monsoon rains [by 2018]
  4. Disposal system of fish gears operationalised [by 2019]
  5. Full marine literacy of coastal communities [by 2020]



Our current excellent legal frameworks for S&PWM have not been sufficient to stop plastic waste from entering the ocean, due to lack of their implementation and enforcement.

Aware that avoiding ocean pollution is a better and cheaper option than cleaning up or mitigating its impact, we should also sermon politicians to invite public-private partnerships, advance outreach campaigns, call for prevention and clean-ups, advance pertinent regional governance strategies to combat marine litter.

Because the litter generation (as well as its prevention), depends on human activities, such as waste management, fisheries, consumption, behavioural patterns, product design, etc., we can take tangible actions every day at our next environment to protect our oceans, but considered the actual dimension of marine trash we can’t do this alone, we have to bring together leaders from industry, business, government, NGOs, corporations, education, officers, all proxy and remote stakeholders.

Then, to bring systemic, durable solutions, to the ocean trash issue, excellent policies to strengthen a national focus on marine debris have to be designed, promoted, implemented.

To keep our ocean clean, and our marine life safe from litter, is a matter of urgency for India, for all of us.

At Karnataka we have only 300kms of coast to heal.

With an excellent pilot governance, all stakeholders jointly can do it.


Our DCs and Divisional Commissioners (UK, Udupi and Mangalore) are requested to appoint an extraordinary committee inclusive of concerned GOs and NGOs to address marine trash issue and start action, namely

  • Call Centre to outline a comprehensive policy for marine litter
  • Provide awareness raising campaigns, education and capacity building
  • Design effective strategies to prevent marine litter at source
  • Ensure the governance of marine litter by all stakeholders
  • Implement market-based instruments
  • Monitor their implementation



  • Increase enforcement of existing regulations
  • Strictly implement the State ban on plastics
  • Strictly implement the SWM rules
  • Increase patrols at sea monitoring waste disposal from fish farms and boats
  • Order clear warning boards at coastal areas to avoid littering and dumping
  • Increase waste bins at coastal populous areas



  • Provide waste and recycling bins where boats can dispose of their waste
  • Fix information signs urging boat operators to bring their litter back to shore, indicating where their waste can be disposed
  • Implement the ‘polluter pays principle’ to fine any boat caught throwing waste in the sea
  • Promote information campaigns for marine professionals on management of waste created on board or collected during fishing activities
  • Foster initiatives such as ‘Fishing for litter’, in which fishermen voluntary collect litter during their normal fishing and bring it ashore.
  • Implement stewardship models among coastal population, namely for discarded fishnets and domestic waste
  • Broadly inform about these initiatives and incite everyone to support all efforts towards a responsible behaviour in pollution prevention and proper waste handling.




[1] tackling gender for ocean health:

fishery related activities viz., fish vending, fish drying, prawn peeling, sorting, grading, fish packing;

across the four occupational groups viz., fish retailer, fish vendor, dry fish makers and value added fish producers.