PIB Chemical pollution has killed more birds than the ship wreck of the MSC Napoli in 2007
Up to nearly 3,000 birds have been killed or injured by the chemical polyisobutene (PIB) off the south cost of England this year. It is said to be worse than the disaster caused by the MSC Napoli in 2007.
The MSC Napoli was a container ship that was destined for the UK and contained 1684 tonnes of products that were classed as dangerous by the International Maritime organization. Up to 420 birds had permanent injuries or were dead.
PIB is a chemical product used in a large variety of consumer goods and services such as chewing gum and improving engine performance of machines. It can be legally discharged when ships clean their tanks under certain conditions.
Wildlife agencies are calling for international action to stop the chemical being discharged legally at sea.
The chemical is one that does not break up easily in the sea so can cause serious problems. It becomes strongly adhesive in the sea and thus restricts bird’s movements and their ability to feed.
The transport minister Stephen Hammond from the UK said that these discharges were being investigated by the UK and other European countries and the results would be passed to the international Maritime organisation.
A joint statement between the RSPCA, RSPB and wildlife trusts of the affected counties said that 2,400 birds had died and 500 birds had been rescued and taken for treatment.
The true scale of the spill is not yet known with the charities taking extra measures to help.