SEPA issue advice to dog owners who come across potentially deadly palm oil 'bergs' in Leith or on Portobello beach

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has issued this advice to dog walkers who come across potentially deadly palm oil 'bergs' washed up on Edinburgh's coastline.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 6:51 am
A video shared with the Evening News shows the palm oil 'bergs' collecting in the Water of Leith and a dog walker told us how he found them on Portobello beach

On the same day, a video showing the palm oil collecting in the Water of Leith at The Shore was shared with the Evening News.

It is believed the substance, which is said to be chalky in texture and white in colour, gets into the waterways after being dumped by cruise and cargo ships in the sea and can cause diarrhoea and vomiting, or be fatal, to dogs if consumed.

The palm oil 'bergs' (circled) can be seen in the video above

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Urgent warning after palm oil 'bergs' which are deadly to dogs wash up in Leith and on Portobello beach

The palm oil carries diesel and other substances from the ships themselves as well as collecting harmful bacteria and debris from the sea before landing on beaches.

Part-time dog walker William Buchan, 56, from Dumbiedykes sais: "I know of 10 or twelve dogs that have become ill after eating this stuff.

"It causes diarrhoea and vomiting and is irresistable to dogs. It can be fatal as it can clog up inside of them.

"I saw it on Portobello beach a few days ago and I'd advise that people keep their pets off the beach."

A spokesperson said: “Every day SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment. SEPA is aware of an allegation that clumps of palm oil have been observed in the Water of Leith. SEPA Officers will investigate the report.

“We would advise members of the public to contact our 24-hour Pollution Hotline on 0800 807060 to report any potential pollution events.”

However, SEPA have said that any palm oil found on Portobello beach has to be reported to Edinburgh Council, saying: "“We would advise members of the public to contact City of Edinburgh Council to report any potential sightings of palm oil at Portobello Beach. Discharges from vessels in coastal or transitional waters are controlled by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.”

An Edinburgh City Council spokeswoman said: “We’d encourage anyone with concerns about palm oil in the Water of Leith to report these to SEPA right away so that they can investigate this matter as a priority.

“While we have not yet received any reports of palm oil at Portobello Beach, if we are informed of any specific incidents our Environmental Health team will investigate.”