Seabird pollution ‘set to worsen’ along south coast

One of approximately 100 seabirds washed up on the south coast covered in a white sticky substance

One of approximately 100 seabirds washed up on the south coast covered in a white sticky substance

First published in News by , Chief reporter

Wildlife experts fear hundreds more seabirds could be washed up on the coast of Sussex in the coming days.

Hundreds of seabirds have died and hundreds more have been washed up on the coast between West Sussex and Cornwall after being covered in the pollutant.

Conservationists believe fear the situation in Sussex could worsen in the coming days.

Their fears were echoed by the discovery of a waxy substance at Black Rock in Brighton and on Saltdean beach over the weekend.

Grahame Madge, of the RSPB, said: “The number of birds recovered today is very small but we don’t think that reflects the absolute position.

“We really think it is a reflection of the prevailing weather conditions rather than the situation affecting sea birds.

“The winds on Friday were encouraging birds to come into the shore where they could be picked up but the wind since has been pushing birds more out to sea.

“It is quite likely that there has been many, many more birds affected who have no hope of rescue at the moment.”

“I think we are due westerly winds which means the birds could be pushed eastwards and that did seem to be what was happening in the last 48 hours with sightings reported in Hampshire and Sussex.

“It is quite often this way with spills or any pollution incident that we only expect to recover a small proportion of the total number of birds affected.

“It will depend entirely on the weather.” Tests are still being carried out to try to find out what the substance is.

On Friday, tests revealed the mystery substance as a refined mineral oil, but not from an animal or vegetable-based oil. They also ruled out palm oil.

Waxy lumps

Alex Moore of Eaton Place, Brighton, reported lumps of a waxy substance found on the beach between Brighton Marina and Black Rock to the Environment Agency.

He said: “I found lots of fist to Brick size lumps and larger, made of a white wax.

“Is this pollution connected to the seabirds? Where has this come from and who is responsible?”

June Jarvis said she had also reported a wax balls found on the beach at Saltdean on Friday to the Environment Agency.

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Comments (1)

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7:30am Tue 5 Feb 13

alyn, southwick says...

There were waxy blocks on Seaford beach on Friday, which were reported to the Environment Agency, but they've not got back to me to let me know if they were connected (they said they would)
There were waxy blocks on Seaford beach on Friday, which were reported to the Environment Agency, but they've not got back to me to let me know if they were connected (they said they would) alyn, southwick
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