The pollution in Youtefa Bay Jayapura is becoming increasingly alarming

The pollution in Youtefa Bay Jayapura is becoming increasingly alarming Plastic waste is seen piling up on the outskirts of Youtefa Bay, Jayapura City, Papua, Friday. Photo by: Fabio Mario Lopes Costa

Source: KOMPAS
Date: February 15, 2022

JAYAPURA, KOMPAS —  A number of heavy metals pollute the waters of Youtefa Bay and marine life in Jayapura City, Papua. The health of the people living around the bay is also threatened.

Pollution in the waters of Youtefa Bay, Jayapura City, Papua, is increasingly worrying. Research by academics at Cenderawasih University shows that there has been contamination of a number of heavy metals, such as cadmium, lead, copper and zinc, in the bay.

Head of the Marine Science Study Program, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Cenderawasih University, Efray Wanimbo, Monday (14/2/2022), said the findings of heavy metals in Youtefa Bay were revealed from a number of studies over the past few years. The last research was conducted by Cenderawasih University Marine Science lecturer Baigo Hamuna in 2021.

The study found cadmium, lead, copper and zinc levels that had exceeded the threshold in sediments in Youtefa Bay. The research location was carried out at the mouth of the river that flows into Youtefa Bay, mangrove forest, and the middle of Youtefa Bay.

The results found that the content of copper (Cu) in mangroves was 22,072 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) and 79,765 mg/kg in the mouth of the river. The safe level of copper is 18.7 (mg/kg). The lead (Pb) content in the mangrove is 15,086 mg/kg and in the estuary 42,025 mg/kg. The safe level of lead is 30.2 mg/kg.

Meanwhile, the content of cadmium (Cd) in mangroves is 2,596 mg/kg, in the estuary 4,935 mg/kg, and in the middle of the bay 3,055 mg/kg. The safe threshold for cadmium levels is 0.7 mg/kg. The content of zinc (Zn) in the mouth of the river is 316,155 mg/kg. The safe level of zinc is 124 mg/kg.

Sources of heavy metal contamination are anthropogenic waste (human activities) originating from land. The waste is then carried by the Entrop and Acai rivers to Youtefa Bay.

Sediment samples were analyzed at the Laboratory of Productivity and Aquatic Environment, Bogor Agricultural University (IPB). Heavy metal content analysis was carried out using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry (AAS).

"The conditions in Youtefa Bay are very dangerous for the health of the local people. It is hoped that the local government will try to overcome the pollution problem in Youtefa Bay," said Efray.

A lecturer at the Faculty of Public Health, Cenderawasih University, Hasmi explained, residents who consume fish containing heavy metals that exceed the threshold are threatened with health problems. This, for example, sideroblastic anaemia, infertility in men, prone to miscarriage for pregnant women, and decreased intelligence for children.

"In 2014, we studied 75 people who live around Youtefa Eggs and often eat fish there. As a result, 23 of these 75 people suffer from sideroblastic anaemia," said Hasmi.

Head of the Papuan Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Service Iman Djuniawal, when confirmed, stated that he would follow up on the results of research by Cenderawasih University academics on the condition of Youtefa Bay. "We will synergize with the Department of Forestry and the Environment to solve the waste problem in Youtefa Bay," he said. 

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