Wildlife charities renew calls for oil additive PIB to be reclassified after deaths of hundreds of seabirds in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset

 

A A A

A wildlife charity has renewed calls for oil additive PIB to be reclassified by the International Maritime Organisation to prohibit discharges at sea after “a whole generation of seabirds” died.

Hundreds of dead and distressed birds have been found washed up along the south west of England's coastline during the last week, two months after a similar spill caused widespread destruction to marine life.

Animal charities said the birds - mostly guillemots but also a smaller number of razorbills and puffins - have been found covered in a sticky, oily substance on beaches across Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.

The Devon Wildlife Trust said that the proportion of dead birds among those washed up has increased, with hundreds of stricken seabirds found on beaches around the West Country over the weekend.

Abby Crosby, marine conservation officer for Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said: "It has been a terribly sad time for everyone seeing these beautiful birds washing up dead in horrific numbers along our coastline. Something must change in the legislation managing our seas to stop this happening again."

Although PIB - polyisobutene, an oil additive which has a chemical mixture ranging from oils to solids - is considered to present a hazard to the marine environment, it is currently legal to discharge it in certain quantities directly into the sea.

Ms Crosby said: "Urgent action is required to prevent PIB causing further death and destruction within the marine environment through its discharge into the sea.

"In this one incident, a whole generation of seabirds of many species has been wiped out, not to mention the young they would have had this year.

"To support a campaign to change the law, we need to get a more accurate picture of just how many birds have been affected."

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it had been unable to trace the source of the spill, although it appears to be the same type of chemical as that which affected more than 300 birds earlier this year along a 200-mile stretch of coastline.

The Devon Wildlife Trust said the pollutant could even be from the same ship, affecting the coast once more due to a change in wind direction.

The Cornwall Wildlife Trust has today called on members of the public to record the numbers of dead birds being washed up on the coastline in an effort to understand the full extent of the pollution.

The 24-hour Marine Stranding Network Hotline can be reached on 0845 201 2626.

PA

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea