PA-Box by ITS students suppress lead levels in batik shells

Anastyar Titanullah and Irfiani Nurul Mawaddah show the silver medal won at ISTEC. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Surabaya – Anastyar Titanullah from the Department of Industrial Mechanical Engineering and Irfiani Nurul Mawaddah from the Department of Industrial Chemical Engineering, Sepuluh November Institute of Technology (ITS), Surabaya, have created a prototype named PA-Box to reduce levels of lead in batik shells (Venerupis philippinarum). Thanks to these innovations they took home the silver medal at the International Science Technology Engineering and Competition (ISTEC) event, recently, by bringing a prototype concept entitled PA-Box (Plumbum Absorber Box) Based on Absorption and Depuration to Reduce the Levels of Lead on Venerupis philippinarum.

Anastyar, who is familiarly called Anas, revealed that the PA-Box was designed to deal with a high level of lead in batik shells in Sidoarjo. “The activity of Sidoarjo mud disposal into the Porong river estuary has a devastating effect on the habitat of batik shells in Gesek Sedati Beach,” he said, in a release received by Independent Observer, late last month.

Besides, the 2019 student explained that high levels of lead caused batik shells to suffer export rejection, which resulted in economic losses for the batik clam collectors sector in Sidoarjo. “This PA-Box is a prototype in the form of a box that functions to reduce lead levels in batik shells by absorption and depuration methods,” Anas said.

He explained depuration is the process of providing water circulation periodically, with a speed of three meters per second, for a certain period, on batik shells. That was done so the batik shells undergo an excretion process that the lead metal can drain out. Then, he continued, the lead that comes out to the surface of the water can be absorbed using the absorption method through activated carbon absorbent and chitosan.

“Based on the results of the study, it can be seen that there was a decrease in lead levels in batik shells by 92.5 percent in the 24 hour process period,” said the Sidoarjo-born student.

Guided by Ir Nur Husodo MS, Anas and his colleague acknowledged that to be able to realize this project it was necessary to prepare and conduct research for five months, starting from the preparation, study of literature, sampling, testing, evaluation and optimization. “But it doesn’t matter, because we also want to support the SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goal) 2030 program on Responsible Consumption and Production,” said he.

The student, who is also active in the Teaching Vocational activities at ITS, hopes that his research products can continue to be developed and applied to the batik shell collector sector in Sidoarjo, especially in Bluru. “Moreover, our products are original, effective, simple, and easy to apply in the community,” he added. (*/est)