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

An Edinburgh dog walker has issued an urgent warning to pet owners after poisonous palm oil 'bergs' washed up in Leith and Portobello.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 7:33 am
FAT: Adele Thomson's picture shows the palm oil 'bergs' at the Shore in Leith

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.

Ships are given permission to dump the oil used to clean their fuel tanks straight into the sea if at least 12 nautical miles from the shore.

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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.

And now, an experienced dog walker from the Capital has warned other pet owners that the 'bergs' have arrived on the city's coastline.

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Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News, part-time dog walker William Buchan, 56, from Dumbiedykes said: "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."

The substance, which is used in a wide-range of daily household products including shampoo and deodorant, is a breeding ground for bacteria and germs.

The video above, which has been shared with the Evening News, shows the potentially lethal palm oil collecting in the Water of Leith near the Shore.

Experts Vets Now warn owners of the dangers palm oil, saying on their website: "Owners concerned their dog has eaten palm oil should contact their vet or, out of hours, their nearest pet emergency clinic or 24/7 hospital.

"Treatment will be supportive. It’s unlikely the vet will induce sickness in the dog as it may increase the risk of inhalation.

"You should not attempt to make your dog sick yourself."

The 'bergs' have also been spotted in the south of England, on Devon and Cornwall's coastline, according to reports in other media outlets.

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.”

What is palm oil?

Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the pulp of the fruit of African, American and Maripa palms.

It is used in processed foods, toiletries and as a biofuel.

Large ships also use palm oil as a tank cleaning agent.

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