SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
16 March 2017
Volume 18 Issue 3
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SETAC Asia/Pacific: Spotlight on Indonesia

Amanda Reichelt-Brushett, SETAC Asia/Pacific Board Member

Amanda Reichelt-Brushett
Amanda Reichelt-Brushett presenting in Jakarta on publishing your work in international journals.

We have had a productive few years of engaging with Indonesian professionals in the field of environmental toxicology and chemistry with a growing membership from Indonesia. SETAC Asia/Pacific ran professional development courses in both Eastern Indonesia (Ambon 2014) and the capital Jakarta (2016) focusing on comprehensive and representative sampling and successful journal article publication. Our connections with the Indonesian Chemical Society, known in Indonesia as Himpunan Kimia Indonesia (HKI), are growing because of these events, and we also linked with the Indonesian Conference on Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation (ICCAI-2016) to run our Jakarta event.

Many thanks to those who helped in the delivery and logistics, including Ross Smith, Hydrobiology, Reg DeWit, Intertek, Bayu Ariyanto, PT Agincourt Resources, Reinier Mann, Qld Government and Editor of Australasian Bulletin of Ecotoxicology and Environmental Chemistry, and Munro Mortimer for his logistical support. It was great to see some of the attendees of the workshops coming along to the 10th SETAC Asia/Pacific Conference in Singapore last year to further engage with the SETAC community. 

These workshops have also supported existing collaborations and led to the development of new initiatives with Indonesian researchers from both the University of Pattimura in Ambon and Udayana University in Bali, to mention just a few. Recent collaborations in Ambon have related to the investigations of mercury contamination associated with artisanal gold mining and local ore processing on Buru Island. This collaboration has not only had research impact with several journal publications (Male et al. 2013, Reichelt-Brushett et al. 2017) but has also resulted in the cessation of the small-scale processing operations on the island. Even with the knowledge of the extensive mercury contamination, local landowners are hopeful that the government will reopen the gold mining on Buru Island rather than it being offered to foreign investors. Here lies a conundrum for researchers and their research impact. While mercury pollution has clearly been identified in sediments, waters and the food chain on Buru Island, communities see the short-term benefits of their small-scale mining industry providing jobs and incomes week to week. The closing of the mining has affected their ability to literally put food on the table, yet the future safety of this food is at risk if the mercury use continues. Currently, there are thousands of small processing sites with tailings highly enriched in mercury. These sites are poorly documented and present a long-term pollution problem. Collaborative work continues in this area to help address this problem.

SETAC Australasia Gold Coast Conference 2017

SETAC Australasia will be running a conference from 3–6 September 2017 on the Gold Coast, Australia. The theme of the conference is “The role of environmental toxicology and chemistry in a changing environment.” For more information about the meeting, visit www.setacgoldcoast2017.com.au.  This will run immediately prior to the DGT Conference 2017, “From Foundation to Future,” at the same location.

Author’s contact information: Amanda.reichelt-brushett@scu.edu.au

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