NANO alumni publication: Plastic pollution in aquatic systems in Bangladesh: A review of current knowledge

NANO Alumnus Subrata Sarker and colleagues published the following article in the Science of The Total Environment

Plastic pollution in aquatic systems in Bangladesh: A review of current knowledge

Chowdhury et al. (2021) Science of The Total Environment , DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143285



Rivers play a crucial role in transporting land-based plastic waste to the ocean, with the Ganges reported as the second largest contributing river of plastic pollution globally. To better quantify global plastic pollution transport and effectively reduce the sources and risks imposed, a clear understanding of the origin, transport, fate, and effects of riverine plastic debris is important. In this review paper, we discuss the current state of knowledge of plastic pollution in aquatic systems in Bangladesh and evaluate existing research gaps. Bangladesh has been recognized as an internationally significant nation in the plastic pollution crisis, but this paper identifies a major disconnect in knowledge, understanding and capacity to understand and address this critical environmental and public health issue. Here, we review all available scientific publications on plastic pollution in the freshwater and marine environment in Bangladesh and identify key research themes. A total of 24 studies relevant to plastic pollution were published from 2006 to 2019, of which 18 were selected for this study under the authors’ criteria. Nine focused on plastic pollution in the marine environment, eight focused on plastic waste generation and management and only one focused on the freshwater environment. We compared our findings with three other countries in the Global South with comparable per capita gross domestic product (GDP) and mismanaged waste, namely Cambodia, Kenya, and Tanzania, revealing similar knowledge gaps. This lack of research demonstrates a need for further work to monitor and model riverine plastic transport and examine the implications for aquatic organisms. This will facilitate the formulation of national management strategies aimed at addressing plastic pollution.



  • Plastic pollution
  • Aquatic systems (marine and freshwater)
  • Microplastic
  • Macroplastic
  • Bangladesh
  • Global South

Link for the publication here

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