PUTRAJAYA: Addressing the issue of plastic pollution requires integrated approaches involving the government, the business community and the general public, according to the Department of Fisheries (DOF).

In a statement today, the department said that it is crucial for all parties to reduce pollution and plastic usage, enhance waste management efficiency, and promote the adoption of alternative materials to effectively address this issue.

Since 2019, the DOF has been conducting studies on microplastic and macroplastic pollution in Peninsular Malaysia’s aquatic environment, particularly on the northwest and east coasts, and in commercial fish tissue and shellfish.

“The findings reveal that rayon, the types of plastics commonly found in both local and global aquatic environments are rayon, polyethylene, and polypropylene.

“These types of plastic are commonly used in daily life, particularly within the clothing industry, food packaging, and various other industries,” read the statement, released in conjunction with World Earth Day today.

According to the DOF, chemicals used in plastic manufacturing, such as bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, can leach into the environment and food sources, leading to concerns regarding their long-term effects on universal health.

“The connection between these chemicals and health issues such as hormonal imbalance and reproductive problems has been widely reported,” said the statement.

The department said that continuous exposure of fish to high concentrations of microplastics can lead to a range of adverse effects, such as oxidative stress, inflammation, immunotoxicity, genotoxicity, DNA damage, and changes in the intestinal microbiota, which can influence fish growth and quality.

“In addition, the high density of microplastics on the turtle hatchery beach will not only raise the temperature of the sand but also pose a threat to the development of the turtle hatchery,” according to the statement.

As such, the DOF called on all parties to join forces in preserving the Earth from the devastating effects of plastic pollution.

In conjunction with Earth Day, the DOF released 100 golden arowana broodstock into Bukit Merah Lake, Perak, yesterday as part of its ongoing efforts to conserve and ensure the sustainability of the earth’s resources.