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Jakarta Bay is Contaminated with Paracetamol, Where does it Source?

The discovery of high concentration of paracetamol content in the estuary of Angke and Ancol makes people wonder, where is the source?

Researchers involved in the study published in the journal Science Direct in August 2021 can only uncover the alleged source based on scientific studies that have been done before.

“We don’t do research on where it came from. But in theory, there are many sources that can pollute the bay of Jakarta with paracetamol,” said Prof. Dr. Zainal Arifin, BRIN Oceanography Researcher in a Webinar on Pharmaceutic Waste in the Waters of Jakarta Bay, Monday (04/10/2021).

“We researchers almost agree that 60-70 percent of pollution in the ocean comes from land or anthropogenic (done by humans),” Zainal added.

In the case of water pollution in Muara Angke and Ancol by paracetamol most likely originated in Jabodetabek.

The first guess, it could be because of people’s lifestyles. For example, expired or damaged drugs are discarded carelessly.

The second guess is that the wastewater disposal plant is not optimal. Zainal explained that paracetamol cannot be deposited by the waste net currently in use.

This means that we need new technological innovations to deal with these problems. Meanwhile, Dr. Wulan Koaguow who is also a BRIN Oceanography Researcher and was involved in the study added that actually all drugs can be environmental contaminants.

And paracetamol is one of the emerging contaminants or very risky to pollute the environment. “Of course, the source of where the paracetamol we mentioned is still suspect.

We mean guesswork, we refer based on the review of existing libraries. That’s not our data. Therefore, more research is needed to find out the source,” Wulan said on the same occasion.

Previous research

Citing a 2001 study mentioned in the researchers’ exposure in the journal Science Direct, it was mentioned that there are 13 rivers that flow in the city of Jakarta and drain the water into Jakarta Bay.

Thus, Jakarta Bay receives waste from more than 10 million residents. Then in 2015 there was a study that said that 75 percent of wastewater in Jakarta is not treated properly, which is directly discharged into the river stream or open channel.

This causes the marine ecosystem in Jakarta Bay to be threatened. In 2009 there was a sharp decline in biodiversity around Jakarta Bay in relation to anthropogenic activity.

On the other hand, the consumption of pharmaceutical drugs and stimulants has also been used intensively by humans over the past few decades.

Paracetamol itself is one of the most popular painkillers and is easily obtained on the market. Global consumption of paracetamol reaches thousands of tons per year.

Previous research has said that paracetamol is still detected in liquid waste and found in seawater. Research on paracetamol pollution in Russia, China, and India has been conducted.

But the U.S., Japan, and Indonesia haven’t done so yet. In other words, this is the first study to report the presence of paracetamol (acetaminophen) in Indonesia’s coastal waters.

This study was conducted by researchers from School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton, Lewes Road, Brighton, United Kingdom Centre for Aquatic Environments, University of Brighton, Lewes Road, Brighton, United Kingdom, dan Research Center for Oceanography, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI/BRIN).

They are Wulan Koagouw, Zainal Arifin, George WJ Olivier, and Corina Ciocan.

In 2017, a team of researchers conducted an investigation into water contaminants, including drugs in Indonesian waters.

Data was collected from locations dominated by liquid waste in Indonesia, consisting of 4 locations in Jakarta Bay (Muara Angke, Ancol, Tanjung Priok, and Cilincing) and one on eretan beach, north of Central Java.

Researchers detected high concentrations of paracetamol at two locations in Jakarta Bay, namely in Angke and Ancol.

“The level of paracetamol reported in Angke (610 nanograms per liter (ng/L) is one of the highest concentrations. While in Ancol the concentration of paracetamol is 420 ng / L,” said Zainal.

“In Tanjung Priok and Cilincing we did not detect paracetamol content. Even if there is, very little to undetected,” he added.

In their presentation this afternoon, the researchers emphasized that synergy from all parties to overcome this problem.

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