ECOTON: The findings of antigen test-kit waste in the water have an impact on the environment

61f7758f47ba4-limbah-bekas-alat-swab-dibuang-sembarangan-di-pesisir-kapuran-banyuwangi_tvonenews_665_374 Waste used for swab equipment is dumped carelessly on the coast of Kapuran, Banyuwangi, Bali Strait. Photo by: TVONE / Happy Oktavia

Source: ANTARA
Date: February 4, 2022

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Ecological Observation and Wetland Conservation (ECOTON) Research and Development Manager Daru Setyorini said the findings of medical waste or antigen test kits in the Bali Strait could have an impact on the surrounding environment, including when they are degraded into microplastics.

Contacted by ANTARA from Jakarta on Thursday, Daru said the chemicals used in the antigen test could contaminate the environment where the medical waste was found.
"Secondly, if the plastic waste is disposed of in the environment, it will eventually break down into microplastics, and the plastic chemicals will also be dissolved in the surrounding waters," said Daru.

This needs to be a concern because most plastics are made from synthetic chemicals that can be toxic, including Bisphenol-A (BPA) which can affect health.
Not only that, but this degradation can also affect ecosystems, including fish and birds.

"When this test pack degrades over time into smaller pieces it will spread more and more into the sea," he explained.

Previously, a lot of medical waste in the form of antigen test kits was found along the coast in the Bali Strait which went viral on social media in the last few days.

The first video, which is 30 seconds long, shows thousands of cotton buds used for antigen testing floating in the Bali Strait and the second video shows several antigen test kits being dumped and burned on the coast of the Bali Strait.

The issue of medical waste has also been highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO) which warns that tens of tons of medical waste consisting of used syringes, test kits, and vaccine bottles during the pandemic threaten human health and the environment.

The WHO report released last Tuesday (1/2) explained that it is estimated that around 87,000 tons of personal protective equipment (PPE) have been ordered through the UN portal until November 2021. Most of the PPE is expected to end up as waste.

The report also mentions that 140 million test kits have the potential to generate 2,600 tons of non-infectious waste, mostly plastic and 731,000 liters of chemical waste.

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