Microplastics Contamination in Aceh’s Rivers Threaten Public Health
A research conducted by Nusantara River Expedition team on rivers located in North Aceh Regency, East Aceh Regency, South Aceh Regency of Aceh Besar, Banda Aceh City, Lhokseumawe City, and Langsa City shows that rivers in Aceh are polluted with microplastics due to waste disposed.
"The research uses a portable microscope and observes microplastics in river water," said Prigi Arisandi, researcher for the Nusantara River Expeditionary Team, Friday (06/10/2022). He said that microplastics in rivers comes from the people's behavior who throw their waste into the rivers.
"River water contaminated with microplastics has a huge impact on human health, it can lower IQ and immune responses to children. Also, it can damage the hormone system, increase the risk of diabetes, cholesterol, and pregnancy," said Prigi, who traveled around Indonesia doing river research with Amiruddin Mutaqqin.in
Krueng Aceh in Banda Aceh City, is one of those contaminated rivers with microplastics. Krueng Aceh river's upstream is in the forest of Ulu Masen, Aceh Besar District, and its estuary is in Banda Aceh City. This river is the source of raw water for the Regional Drinking Water Company (PDAM) and the water is used by the community as daily needs.
"The research was carried out by taking 100 liters of river water, filtered with a special medium called LST 1.0, which is capable of filtering small particles up to 0.01 millimeters," said the alumni of the master's degree in Biology at Airlangga University, Surabaya, East Java.
Prigi said the small particles were observed using a microscope with a magnification of 40-400 times. "Those tiny particles are partly microplastics. We found up to 150 microplastic particles in 100 liters of river water," he wrote.
The team found a variety of waste that became a source of microplastics in Krueng Aceh, such as household materials made of plastic, fiber, clothing materials, baby diapers, bottled drinking bottles, and styrofoam.
"The plastics will become flakes that are microplastic if left in the river for a long time" he wrote. Tajudin, a resident of Banda Aceh City, said that the large amount of plastic waste in the river is due to the lack of community awareness of waste management.
Tajudin said that the level of public awareness of waste management in Banda Aceh City is still low. "Waste sorting and management must involve the community." Tajudin said. "When the wind is strong, some plastic waste gets into the water," he explained.
"We continue the campaign for rivers clean-up, because it's not only have an impact on public health but also the life of aquatic biota," said The Head of the Management of Waste, Wastewater, Toxic and Hazardous Materials at the Department of Environment of the City of Banda Aceh, Hamdani Basyah.