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Study shows that Indonesians have highest Global Microplastic intake

Study shows that Indonesians have highest Global Microplastic intake

Study shows that Indonesians have highest Global Microplastic intake

Study shows that Indonesians have highest Global Microplastic intake

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  • Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, also lead in microplastic consumption.
  • Major regions, like Jakarta and Bali, have implemented bans on single-use plastics.
  • The study expands on earlier research on the presence of plastic particles in fish, crabs, and chicken eggs.
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A recent study by Cornell University shows that Indonesians top global consumption of microplastics, estimating that they ingest about 15 grams of plastic particles per month.

The study, published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal, mapped microplastic uptake in 109 countries and found that people in Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, lead global consumption of microplastics.

Indonesians topped the list by consuming the equivalent of three credit cards in microplastics every month, primarily from fish and seafood. Cornell researchers, using existing data models, reported that Indonesians’ daily consumption of plastic particles increased by 59 times from 1990 to 2018.

“This latest finding adds to the long list of the alarming dangers of plastic pollution in Indonesia … the existence of microplastics cannot be separated from the massive production of plastics,” Afifah Rahmi Andini, plastic lead researcher at Greenpeace Indonesia, told the news.

According to a 2015 study published in the journal Science, Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 270 million people, ranks as the second-largest ocean plastic polluter, just behind China. Despite being a major producer and consumer of plastics, Southeast Asia’s largest economy still lags in waste management.

“Our waste management capacity is still far from ideal. Our recycling capacity alone is less than 10 percent of the total plastic waste we produce. So, it’s not that surprising if right now we have to face the bitter truth that Indonesians are at the highest risk of being exposed to microplastics,” Andini said.

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Over the years, the Indonesian government has formulated various regulations to tackle the issue of plastic pollution. These include a national action plan aimed at reducing marine plastic debris by 70 percent by 2025. The plan encompasses strategies for waste reduction, enhancing waste management infrastructure, and conducting public education campaigns.

Major regions, such as the capital Jakarta, and the popular holiday destination Bali, have also implemented bans on single-use plastics.

“But the existing regulations are not ideal enough to address the issue of microplastic contamination … we must adapt because it’s now a fact that microplastics are part of our environment and our bodies that we can no longer avoid,” Andini said.

The Cornell study also expanded on earlier research that investigated the presence of plastic particles in fish in Jakarta, crabs in Central Java, and chicken eggs in East Java.

“Unfortunately, Indonesia has not yet incorporated microplastics as a parameter into our food and environmental quality standards.”

Dr. Anas Ma’ruf, the environmental health director at the Indonesian Ministry of Health, stated to the News that the Ministry has not yet received a report on clinical illnesses related to microplastics, but considers the Cornell study to be “useful information.”

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“Though it needs to be studied further, it can still serve as information on how health risks caused by microplastics require attention,” he said.

“As Indonesia is the largest maritime country and a major producer of microplastics in the world, there is a need to increase public education campaigns.”

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