Further research needed to examine impact of microplastics on humans

Further research needed to examine impact of microplastics on humans

Fishermen cross the river estuary contaminated with plastic waste at Satelit Beach, Tembokrejo Village, Muncar, Banyuwangi, East Java, Friday (April 19, 2019). ANTARA FOTO/Seno/wsj.

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Microplastics detected in marine biota are suggestive of marine contamination in Indonesia, though further research is necessitated to evaluate the impact on the human body, the country's Institute of Sciences (LIPI) stated.

"Based on their origins, microplastics are divided into two types, microbeads in cosmetics and the result of degradation from large plastics that may be degraded, either by sunlight or ocean waves, eventually becoming microplastics as we now detect in marine biota," LIPI's polymer researcher Witta Kartika Restu noted on Monday.

In collaboration with Hasanuddin University and Bali Fokus, a non-governmental organization, that examines the presence of microplastics in Indonesian marine and aquatic biota, LIPI found the presence of microplastics in large fish bodies.

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However, the impact of microplastics on humans was not confirmed as research had yet to be conducted that found the effects of microplastics in marine biota or human bodies. Hence, more in-depth research is necessitated.

"The existence of microplastics in marine animals is already proven, as our sea is indeed polluted, but we have not found the level of danger. It had until now been categorized as not dangerous," Witta noted.

Large plastics are undeniably dangerous, with some marine animals found lifeless after ingesting large quantities of plastic, but microplastics measuring less than five millimeters in length had yet to be found to have a direct impact on humans.

LIPI plans to conduct a research on the content of microplastics that pollutes the Indonesian Ocean, so that alternative treatments can be found, LIPI's Acting Head of the Center for Deep Sea Research Nugroho Dwi Hananto stated.

The research is planned to be conducted on December 18-25, 2019, at several locations, specifically the Java waters, the Bali Strait to the Makassar Strait.

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