Awareness, perception and adaptation strategies of fisher community towards marine plastic pollution along Mumbai coast, Maharashtra, India
Plastic pollution in Indian beaches has reached almost unmanageable proportions and practically no documentation available on the views, occurrence and adaptation methods of the coastal communities exposed to plastic discards in Indian beaches and fishing grounds. This study attempted to fill this gap. The 5-point Likert scale was used to determine the awareness level, perceptions and attitude of respondents towards plastic pollution among the sampled fishers of Versova, Mumbai. Indices to measure these parameters were developed. The results revealed that the respondents were knowledgeable about the ill effects of plastic pollution on the environment. Easy availability (48%), substitutability (26%) and low cost (16%) of plastics were the reasons expressed by respondents for its rampant use in fishing. The perception index scores were found to be highest (1) for “juvenile destruction” and lowest for “damage to crafts and gear” (0). Strategies that provide incentives for change, assured government support, along with environmental awareness and community led management measures are necessary to address this menace. If plastic production and availability is reduced, availability of biodegradable substitutes is increased and information through various media sources reaches the unreached from time to time, it will go a long way to reduce marine plastic pollution.
Keywords: Coastal communities, Fishers, Fishing grounds, Indian beaches, Likert scale, Perception index score, Plastic discards