Commend the Ban of Harmful Chemicals in Marine Areas

Target: International Maritime Organization, Dorset, England

Goal: Applaud a ban on dumping chemicals harmful to seabirds into the ocean

England has recently announced that ships will no longer be able to legally discharge a chemical responsible for thousands of seabird deaths. The International Maritime Organization has banned polyisobutylene, or PIB, a chemical used in fuel tank cleaning or as an additive, from being knowingly dumped into waters surrounding the area.

PIB is responsible for the deaths of thousands of seabirds, mainly guillemots and razorbills. The rubbery chemical repels water, and therefore stays in gluey clumps on the water’s surface. Seabirds that swim through the sludge have their feathers tarred, which affects their ability to float and fly. The birds are unable to dive for food and die of starvation. In six months, more than four thousand birds were found washed ashore after coming in contact with the sticky substance.

The International Maritime Organization has made it mandatory to do all cleaning with the rubbery glue in port, where it can be safely discharged and disposed of. The law, effective in 2014, will protect much of the English Channel, where seabirds frequent. It is reported that other UK countries are considering following England’s example and banning the chemical.

In some places in the United Kingdom, seabirds such as the guillemot are experiencing an increasing decline in populations. The ban on PIB will create a sanctuary for these creatures where they may thrive less hindered by shipping industry pollutants. Your signature will thank the International Maritime Organization for their efforts in seabird conservation.


Dear International Maritime Organization,

Recently, a ban was announced on discharging polyisobutylene, or PIB, into seas surrounding England. PIB was responsible for over 4000 seabird deaths in only six months, found washed ashore on various English beaches. The chemical sticks together on the surface of the water, coating the feathers of any bird that it encounters. With tarred feathers, the birds’ buoyancy is affected, and in conjunction, their ability to hunt. Their flight capabilities can also be affected, leaving them to die of starvation while stranded in the water.

The ban will protect the English Channel islands, as well as other English coasts where the birds live, from this hazardous waste. By ensuring all PIB is disposed of on land, a safer habitat is created for seabirds whose populations have been dwindling in some areas, and allows them a chance at recovery. I commend your decision to ban this harmful substance and the positive example you have set for other countries, some of whom are already considering following suit.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Marine Photobank via Creative Commons


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