University of Mauritius

Our plastic challenge

Marine litter is one of the most pervasive pollution problems affecting the marine environment.

The Republic of Mauritius consists of a set of islands in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO), namely mainland Mauritiu, Rodrigues and outer islands. Coastal areas of the islands are the ultimate recipients of environmental degradation and pollution. Mauritius, with a population of about 1.3 million, generates about 1200 tons of waste daily ( Domestic waste contributes 96% of total solid waste landfilled at Mare Chicose sanitary engineered landfill (Environment Statistics Mauritius 2016). Solid waste generated consists: 45% green waste; 25% domestic refuse; 11% plastics waste; 4% textile and others. Littering in rivers/ natural watercourses and bare lands is a problem. Kowlessur (2011) highlighted that marine litter is an aesthetic issue and there has been only ‘eyeball’ estimates of the problem. Limited scientific studies have been carried out pertaining to the issue of marine litter in the region.

In a preliminary work carried out by the team at Grand Baie, Pereybere, Grand Gaube, Albion, Le Morne, St Felix, La Cambuse and Blue Bay, it was found that main source of marine litter was land-based, and mostly found on the beach and strandline as compared to benthic and floating litters. Plastics (40%) and paper (43%) were the most abundant types of litter, followed by metal (9%), glass-ceramic (5%), cloth (2%), wood (1%) and others (<1%). Plastics component (40%) consisted mainly of food packaging, polystyrene, PET bottles, plastic bottle caps, straws, cups, plastic cutlery and plastic bags.
The need for beach litter monitoring in Mauritius and its outer islands is necessary since limited baseline data is available on marine litter pollution. According to a first regional assessment carried out in West Indian Ocean Region in 2005, it was found that very little data existed on quantities, types, trends, sources and sinks of marine litter for Mauritius.

Our Team

Sushma Mattan Moorgawa, PhD

Sushma Mattan Moorgawa is Senior Lecturer at Department of Biosciences and Ocean Studies, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius. She obtained a BSc (Hons) degree in Biology with Environmental Sciences (2000), an MSc in Environmental Engineering (2003) and recently completed her PhD in Marine Ecology and Physiology. Her involvement in this project is to undertake marine litter monitoring, quantification and characterisation on beaches, benthic zone and islets, managing funds, sample collection and analysis, data analysis and reporting.

Team members

Assoc Prof (Dr) Chandani Appadoo, PhD

C. Appadoo is Associate Professor at the Department of Biosciences and Ocean Studies, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius. She has a PhD in the field of marine biology and has research expertise in taxonomy. She has worked widely for over 20 years in the marine environment of Mauritius studying coastal ecosystems and organisms, and on mangrove ecosystems. Her involvement in this particular project is to be able to look at the status of plastic pollution in riverine and coastal marine ecosystems, assist in quantification, questionnaire designs and study possible impacts on ecosystems.

Assoc Prof (Dr) Ravindra Boojhawon, PhD

R. Boojhawon is Associate Professor at the Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius. He has a PhD in the field of Numerical Linear Algebra. He has a long experience in developing GUIs and programming languages such as MATLAB, R, Microsoft Excel VBA, Mathematica and GIS softwares. He has also a long experience in consultancy services where he has used his programming skills and geostatistical background in problem solving related to environmental science.

Dr. Kishore Boodhoo, PhD

K. Boodhoo is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius. His PhD project was carried out at Birmingham University in UK. His current field of research is analytical and environmental chemistry, dealing with monitoring of nutrients, heavy metals and microplastics in freshwater, coastal and marine environment.

Riad Sultan

R. Sultan is an environment economist and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, University of Mauritius. He has led several national and international projects for different organisations such as Mauritius Research Council, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Labour, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (Geneva), International Labour Office (Geneva), Global Development Network (India), Indian Ocean Commission. (Mauritius), Center for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa (CEEPA), University of Pretoria and United Nations Organisations (UNEP, UNITAR, UNIDO, IOM).


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