The commemoration of the National Coral Reef Day 2020 on May 8 amid the Covid-19 pandemic, has motivared the National Coordination Team for Marine Debris Handling (TKN PSL), Divers Clean Action (DCA), and the Center for Indonesia’s Strategic Development Initiatives (CISDI) to hold a Webinar titled: “The Impact of the Pandemic on Behavioral Change, the Environment, and Marine Debris”. This webinar is not only intended to commemorate National Coral Reef Day but it is also intended to explore further the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on human behavior in Indonesia which has an impact on the environment and marine debris condition.
The reason is that the rise of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia has increased public awareness in using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) amid the COVID-19 pandemic. PPE health facilities used by the community and medical personnel such as disposable masks and gloves are included in the category of toxic and hazardous waste (B3). The increasing amount of hazardous waste from medical waste has the potential to cause the spread of disease, increasing risks that endanger public safety and health.
Keep in mind, Indonesia is known worldwide as the second-largest contributor of waste to the world’s oceans after China. News of the discovery of masks and other medical waste due to pandemics at several coastal points of the world brought from the oceans has warned Indonesia to be ready to face and prevent such waste in the oceans of the country. Medical and similar wastes from behavioral changes during a pandemic can have a negative impact on the environment, especially the marine ecosystem. Medical masks and some other types of medical waste have been found in Indonesian rivers and streets and shown by various environmental activists.
At this webinar, there were speakers from various parties, including Reza Cordova from P20 LIPI who is also a member of the PSL TKN, Novy Farhani (Head of the Sub-Directorate of Pollution and Damage Control in Region I, KLHK), and Prof. Sharyn Rundle-Thiele (Griffith Campus Australia). This webinar lasted for 2 and a half hours and managed to attract more than 700 participants through zoom media and Youtube channel of Directorate of Waste Management, KLHK.