RSPB calls for tighter regulations on sea dumping after Dorset seabird deaths
The RSPB has called for tighter international regulations on dumping substances at sea after hundreds of dead seabirds washed up on the Dorset coast.
Polyisobutance (PIB) is thought to have caused the deaths, according to scientists from the University of Plymouth.
PIB can be legally dumped into the sea when vessels wash out their tanks.
The substance is thought to be responsible for over 4,000 seabird deaths in recent years across Europe. However, PIB is given one of the lowest hazard classifications.
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Alec Taylor, Marine Policy Officer for the RSPB said: "Given that this substance is used for making chewing gum, adhesive tape and cosmetics, millions of people of people come into contact with it every day.
"However, it's when it mixes with sea water that this chemical can become lethal for seabirds, covering them in a sticky goo, and preventing them from flying, feeding and ultimately surviving."
The RSPB is questioning the low hazard classification, believing it doesn't take into effect the damage causes to seabirds when mixed with sea water.
The charity is calling for public support to put pressure on the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to review the classification of PIB.