Huge “fatbergs” are being washed ashore on some UK beaches. Dogs appear to be drawn to the noxious smell these palm oil fatbergs emit, but pet owners are warned that they can be fatal if ingested.
By, 9 Aug 2019
Generally, a fatberg is the description of a solid piece of congealed fat that is found in underground sewers made up of cooking fat and other household products that are often flushed down the drains. However, a palm oil fatberg is a congealed substance that has been carried across the oceans, often from the Caribbean, but is made up of lumps of palm oil. Other deposits are thought to have been dislodged from the shipwrecked Kimya vessel, that is located near Aberffraw.
What exactly is a palm oil fatberg?
These bizarre fatbergs vary in size, some as large as boulders. They are made up of a white, solid substance that looks like candle wax, yet they produce a rancid, diesel-like aroma that is quite lethal. These fatbergs are covered in germs and are a huge threat to both dogs and children. Palm oil is an edible vegetable ingredient that is most often used in food processing, however, when released into the marine environment, it can cause serious environmental issues.
Although it is currently legal for a ship at sea to release palm oil into the ocean, when at least 12 miles from the shoreline, this waste product very quickly becomes contaminated with other waste products. As an edible product, dogs are attracted to these palm oil fatbergs because of their odour.
Warning to keep dogs away from fatbergs
Dog walkers in the Anglesey region are advised to keep their dogs on a leash, and perhaps muzzled, when in the beach vicinity. If you are concerned that your pet has swallowed any of this palm oil material, its advisable to take the dog to the vet for a check over. This toxic material can cause stomach upsets, or more serious health issues such as gut blockage and liver or kidney failure.
If the dog has come into direct contact with a fatberg, rinse off any residue and likewise, clean any of your clothing that may be contaminated too.
Clean up operation on Anglesey beaches
A spokesperson for Anglesey County Council stated that the Maritime Unit is currently working to clean up the local beaches. Until they eliminate all of these fatbergs, it is a wise precaution to keep any children and dogs away from the area.