BRIN reveals increased concentration of microplastics during the pandemic

Jakarta (ANTARA) – The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) has called for streamlining single-use waste management following the discovery of increasing concentrations of microplastics during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Implementation in the form of strict regulations, public information and better understanding are needed to promote correct disposal methods and systemic change in plastic waste management, especially for single-use plastic.

People have been urged to participate in environmental protection, especially regarding the disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE) waste, Mr. Reza Cordova of the BRIN Oceanographic Research Center noted on Wednesday. in a press release.

An increase in thread-like microplastics from PPE has been reported at the mouths of rivers leading to Jakarta Bay, he pointed out.

Some 4.29 to 23.49 microplastic particles were found per thousand liters of river water, with the average being 9.02 particles per thousand liters of water, he revealed.

The wire-like microplastics have been reported to have the shape and chemical composition similar to those of medical masks.

The proportion of microplastics increased 10-fold in December 2020 compared to when the first case of COVID-19 was discovered in Indonesia, when the proportion of microplastics was around 3%.

Microplastics monitoring research recorded that concentrations were higher on the east coast of Jakarta Bay compared to the west coast.

Of the nine river mouths studied in Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi (Greater Jakarta), microplastics were found in all of these locations.

The result of research carried out by BRIN in collaboration with several parties showed a significant increase in microplastic levels, especially during heavy rains.

The highest concentrations of microplastics were found during the rainy season, recorded at 9.02 particles per thousand liters of water, on average, while the lowest were found during the dry season, at 8.01 particles per thousand liters of water.

The team published this finding in the Marine Pollution Bulletin titled: Seasonal Heterogeneity and Link to Precipitation in the Release of Microplastics During the COVID-19 Outbreak from the Greater Jakarta Area to Jakarta Bay, Indonesia.

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