The eastern coast of Surabaya, the second largest city of Indonesia, is highly contaminated with mercury, cadmium, copper and lead. The latest findings have been reported by two researchers from Surabaya's Airlangga University, who have been measuring heavy metal content along the coast for over two decades. The results have shocked local environmental health officials who had claimed that the concentration of heavy metals in local rivers were within permitted limits.

Surabaya has a large number of paper mills, oil refineries, engineering and wood processing plants and factories producing paint, chemicals, detergents, cosmetics, textiles, steel and cement. These release cadmium, lead and copper into the air. Heavy metals might be finding their way into Surabaya's main river Brantas along which 26 factories are located.Investi-gations in Kenjeran and Sukolilo in eastern Surabaya reveal that residents, who largely consume seafood from the Surabaya Bay, are showing early symptoms of Minamata disease like headaches and dizziness due to mercury poisoning.

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