Palm oil warning continues

The warning over washed-up palm oil on Galloway’s beaches has been heightened after several more lumps were found this week.

The chalky, white substance is deadly to pets and a particularly big piece was reported to SEPA last week on Monreith Beach.

But this week, more beaches along the Solway coast have played host to the poisonours substance.

The oil, often found in booulder-size chunks, is not dangerous to humans but can be to dogs. Palm oil is grown across the world and used mainly in food, soaps, shampoos and biofuels.

When washed up on shorelines it emitts a smell of bacon and diesel which is attractive to dogs and bird life who like to lick or nibble on the substance but leaves them writhing in agony. Some experts believe the winter storms have driven the solid balls, which can bob around out at sea for months without causing issue, ashore.

It’s thought the lumps are formed from diesel expelled from ships which becomes emulsified by the sea water.

Monreith, St Ninian’s Cave, Carrick Shore and Southerness have all had confirmed sightings, as well as scores of other beaches in England.

A Dumfries and Galloway Council spokesperson said: “Palm oil is reported to be present on a number of beaches in our region. The oil is harmless to humans but can be dangerous to dogs if ingested.

“The oil is a white chalky substance which may be slightly smaller than a rugby ball and has a sulphurous smell.

“Keep dogs on a lead if you are walking them on any of the region’s beaches. If your dog has swallowed any of the oil contact a vet as soon as possible.

“The exact source of the palm oil is unclear, but it has probably been pumped into the sea by a passing ship, or containers of it have been swept overboard.”

Although recently spotted in large clumps, the oil may resemble smaller pebbles and easily blend in with a beach.

Anyone concerned about the sighting of palm oil on local beaches is asked to report it to SEPA on their pollution hotline – 0800 80 70 60 (24 hour service).