RECOMMENDED HARMONIZED PROTOCOL FOR SAMPLING, ANALYSIS, AND MONITORING OF MICROPLASTICS IN SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANTS AND RIVERINE ENVIRONMENTS IN ASEAN

テクニカルレポート
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Microplastics (MPs) are plastic fragments smaller than 5 mm in size that pose a significant threat to the environment and human health. They are generated from primary and  secondary sources, forming a part of waste from commercial products and through the degradation of larger plastic pieces. An increasing number of scientific studies have shown that MPs have been detected in fish species, salts, and even human breast milk and placenta samples. Sewage treatment plants (STPs) are major conduits for MPs to enter the environment, particularly in receiving water bodies. According to numerous recent studies, most MPs are eliminated during the primary treatment stages of STPs. Nevertheless, the disparity between the results of these studies demonstrates the requirement for standardized protocols and procedures for the treatment of MPs in sewage.


Why do we need a standard or Harmonized Protocol?


The issue of MPs is particularly pressing in member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) due to the following reasons: the local population is highly reliant on marine resources due to the presence of extensive coastlines in these countries—hence, the presence of MPs in fish species used for consumption negatively impacts people’s health; additionally, due to the rapid urbanization and industrialization in these countries, large amounts of plastic waste are produced, which in turn degrades into MPs over time. Furthermore, monitoring MPs in STPs and receiving water bodies, particularly in rivers in member countries of ASEAN (hereinafter referred to as “ASEAN countries”), lacks a standard or Harmonized Protocol, resulting in difficulties regarding comparing data across studies and regions.


Hence, in response to these concerns, the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) has launched a new project titled “Strengthening Capacity Development for Local Governments in ASEAN to Tackle Microplastics and Water Pollution through Decentralized Domestic Wastewater Management Approach” with the aim of facilitating the process of developing and introducing a standardized and Harmonized Protocol for monitoring MPs in STPs and receiving water bodies in ASEAN countries. This recommended Harmonized Protocol is developed by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan, in collaboration with AMH Philippines, Inc. and the University of the Philippines Diliman. The implementation of this protocol is anticipated to contribute to improved data comparability, enhanced performance evaluation of wastewater treatment processes, more reliable and scientifically derived evidence for policymaking, and increased cooperation between ASEAN countries in a collective effort to combat pollution caused by MPs. This protocol is not intended to present general standards; instead, it has been prepared with the expectation that it will be helpful in implementing harmonized methods for generating comparable results.


Who will benefit from this Harmonized Protocol?


The Harmonized Protocol has been designed to be used by relevant units within either central or local governments (e.g. centers for environmental monitoring, research institutions), STP operators, academic institutions, and other relevant stakeholders. During instances of sampling from rivers, collecting wastewater, working alone, processing samples in the field and laboratory, characterizing samples in the riverine environment, and analyzing samples, users should adhere to appropriate health and safety provisions and adopt safe work practices.

著者:
Tanchuling,
Maria Antonia
Diola
Ma Brida Lea
Osorio
Ezra
Santos
Marian Jave Delos
Andal
Maria Deandra
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