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

Implementation in the form of stringent regulation, dissemination of information to the public and increasing understanding is necessary to promote correct disposal methods and systemic change within the scope of plastic waste management, especially for single-use plastic.

People were invited to participate in protecting the environment, especially pertaining to the disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE) waste, M. Reza Cordova from BRIN's Oceanography Research Center noted through a statement on Wednesday.

An increase in thread-shaped microplastics from PPE was reported at the mouth of rivers leading to the Jakarta Bay, he pointed out.

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

The thread-shaped microplastics were indicated to have the similar shape and chemical composition as medical masks.

The proportion of microplastics rose by 10 folds in December 2020 as compared to when the first COVID-19 case was found in Indonesia when the proportion of microplastics was at around three percent.

The microplastic monitoring research recorded that the concentrations were higher in the east coast of Jakarta Bay as 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 these locations.

The result of the research conducted by BRIN in collaboration with several parties showed a significant increase in microplastic levels, especially during heavy rainfall.

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

The team published this finding in the Marine Pollution Bulletin titled: Seasonal heterogeneity and a link to precipitation in the release of microplastic during COVID-19 outbreak from the Greater Jakarta area to Jakarta Bay, Indonesia.

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Translator: Martha H S, Fadhli Ruhman
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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