Haunting Our Seas: How ‘ghost nets' threaten marine life and human beings
The Times of India Mumbai|July 24, 2021
Akansha Tiwari is a wildlife filmmaker and director of ‘Tangled Seas’, a documentary on the impacts of fishing gear discarded in the Indian Ocean. Writing in Times Evoke Inspire, Akansha explains why ghost nets descending on marine ecosystems could soon entrap us all:
Akansha Tiwari

In 2019, at a workshop on circular economies and waste disposal held in north Goa, one conversation changed my entire worldview. We were discussing the problem of plastic nets that plagued the local beaches when suddenly, the sarpanch of a village suggested I go deeper — literally. He asked me to join underwater divers and study ‘ghost nets’ — discarded fishing nets cluttering up land and sea. I was intrigued and thus began my journey. Filming in Goa and Puducherry over the next three years, I spoke with fishing industry workers, marine biologists, conservationists, divers and responsible tourism groups. Slowly, I began to hear the cries of those most directly impacted by ghost nets — marine beings.

The presence of plastic in the world’s seas is only growing exponentially — the IUCN estimates that at least eight million tons of plastic are discarded in our oceans each year, composing 80% of all marine debris from surface waters to deep-sea sediments. The impacts of such debris on marine life, which ingests it or gets caught in it, are enormous. And ghost nets make this problem even more daunting.

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