Indonesia is famous as a tourist destination, especially for the beautiful beaches, coral reefs, abundant marine species and spectacular underwater world. However, Indonesia is also facing a plastic pollution problem which is threatening its marine tourism.
It is with this problem in mind that advocacy group Divers Clean Action (DCA) organized a public forum “Are you drinking garbage water while diving?”, to educate both divers and the public on the danger of plastic pollution to the environment as well as human health.
M Reza Cordova, researcher, Oceanographic Research Center of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), said based on field research, microplastics has a deadly impact on human and marine lives, and that the level of microplastics found in the ocean is increasing. Indonesia is currently ranked fifth globally as a contributor of ocean rubbish and it is estimated that 500,000 tons of garbage leak into the ocean every year.
“For example, microplastics is now found in 100 percent of Jakarta’s green mussels, up from the previous 70 percent. Beside in water, microplastics is also now found in Jakarta’s air. Whether ingested or breathed in, microplastics is harmful to humans. Microplastics has the unique ability to attach itself to other pollutants inside the human body and the bond does not break easily, therefore making it more dangerous,” Cordova said.
Nutritionist Dr. Rita Ramayulis said microplastics can even cause cancer and reproductive organ disorders. He said, however, “we can increase our bodies’ ability to excrete microplastics by improving digestive health, increasing the function of immune cells, and increasing fluid expenditure through urine and sweat.”
Marischka Prudence, diving influencer and travel blogger, said: “Human activities including tourism, are inevitably producing plastic rubbish. As influencers, we can use interesting content to raise public awareness to reduce the use of plastics, especially single-use plastics. But influencers cannot do this alone. We need the government’s support in having the right policies and enforcement.”
Top photo credit: Pixabay/ A_Different_Perspective