She went to investigate the local ecology. Yet during her field work on East Java, Dutch biologist Ansje Löhr became increasingly involved with the local residents, whose harvests failed and whose health was deteriorating due to extremely acidified and polluted river water. Löhr has recently received a second grant to help the Javanese population.
Löhrs Ph.D. study was part of a larger project on the Ijen Crater Lake on East Java, Indonesia. This crater lake is the largest collection of volcanic water in the world and is extremely acidic (pH 0.1). The acidic water slowly seeps away, and despite dilution by two tributaries in the area the pH of the river water remains very low. This water is used for agricultural and household purposes, which sometimes leads to the rice harvests failing. The very high aluminium content of the water – associated with the acidity – also plays an important role in this. Other elements such as fluorine, in the form of fluoride, form a direct threat for public health. The levels are not only alarmingly high in the river water but also in the groundwater and drinking water wells.
Ansje Löhr | alfa
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