Pollution may ‘wipe out’ a generation of seabirds

 

Sam Masters
Wednesday 17 April 2013 19:25
Comments
A dead guillemot at Wembury, Devon
A dead guillemot at Wembury, Devon

An entire generation of seabirds could be wiped out on a section of the British coastline after hundreds were found dead last week, wildlife authorities have warned.

More than 700 guillemots, razorbills and puffins have been washed up in Devon and Cornwall in the last fortnight covered in a clear sticky substance thought to be polyisobutene (PIB).

Wildlife agencies in the two counties said the number of birds killed or rendered helpless could now reach thousands and warned that a “whole generation of seabirds” may have been wiped out by a single pollution incident.

PIB is an oil additive often used to improve the performance of lubricating oil and is considered a hazard to the marine environment. But it is legal to discharge it in certain quantities directly into the sea.

The Cornwall Wildlife Trust renewed calls for PIB discharges to be outlawed by the International Maritime Organisation. It said “urgent action” was required to prevent “further death and destruction” in the South West.

“It has been a terribly sad time for everyone seeing these beautiful birds washing up dead in horrific numbers along our coastline,” said Abby Crosby, a marine conservation officer for Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

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

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in