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Are natural dyes eco-friendly? A case study on water usage and wastewater characteristics of batik production by natural dyes application

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The pollution caused by the highly colored synthetic dyes and an excessive use of water by batik home-based industries has been arising a problem of water scarcity. Therefore, recently some batik entrepreneurs have started to use natural dyes for batik dyeing as natural dyes are considered to be eco-friendly. However, studies regarding the environmental aspect of natural dye application are very limited. Hence, this research aimed to examine the efficiency of water usage by batik industry and the characteristics of batik wastewater containing natural dye extract. The result showed that the industry used water in a volume of 17.93 L per piece of batik cloth, where most of the water was mainly used for washing process. Although it is considered to be efficient in comparison to the benchmark, the use of water for batik production could be reduced. Other results showed that the concentration of TSS, BOD5, COD exceeded the Quality Standard for Textile Effluent set by The World Bank. Although natural dyes were found to be biodegradable, the BOD5/COD ratio implies that the wastewater was not subjected to biodegradation. Moreover, accumulation of pollutant was found to cause adverse impact to the aquatic system in the form of eutrophication. Although wastewater treatment is needed, education on water issues to local community and batik entrepreneurs, water conservation planning and practices, and environmental impact assessment are required to achieve a more sustainable water use by the cooperation among the government, local community, batik entrepreneurs, university, and Non-Governmental Organizations.

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(Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information 2017)

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(Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information. c Chemical structure of Ellagic Acid (Pubchem. CID 5281855) (Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information 2017)

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The authors would gratefully acknowledge Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan Republik Indonesia, who supported this research by Beasiswa Unggulan Program Mandiri 2015 Scholarship. We would also like to offer our gratitude to Fakultas Sains dan Matematika, Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana for giving us permission to conduct the laboratory research. Acknowledgement is also given to Stefanus Agung and Chairul Anwar for technical helps, and to Maria Rosalia Bukit and Toar Sumakul for manuscript corrections.

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Correspondence to Widhi Handayani.

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Handayani, W., Kristijanto, A.I. & Hunga, A.I.R. Are natural dyes eco-friendly? A case study on water usage and wastewater characteristics of batik production by natural dyes application. Sustain. Water Resour. Manag. 4, 1011–1021 (2018).

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