Target: European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella
Goal: Create stricter rules and regulations for toxic chemical disposal to protect marine life.
Orca whales, dolphins and porpoises are being poisoned by PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl), toxic materials that have been banned for the last couple of decades. The study that discovered the problem took samples of 1,000 marine mammals around industrialized areas of Europe. Scientists are calling for stricter regulations regarding the disposal of materials that contain these chemicals.
Before they were banned, PCBs were widely used in the creation of plastics and building materials. They are persistent organic compounds, and can be released even today by the improper disposal of old paints, electrical equipment and construction materials from before the ban in the 1980s. The PCBs leach into rivers and estuaries from landfills, and eventually end up in the ocean where they cause major health problems for marine life, passing up the food chain to orcas and dolphins.
The study has revealed the highest levels of PCBs in the world in marine mammals off the coast of Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, and Britain. Lower levels were found in U.S. waters, which could be attributed to the fact that the materials were banned almost a decade before the European community followed suit in 1987. Sign this petition and call for stricter rules regarding the disposal of this harmful chemical.
Dear Commissioner Vella,
Marine mammals in European waters are under threat from the release of toxic chemicals into their environment. PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl) are leaching from landfills and making their way into the sea, poisoning orca whales, porpoises and dolphins, and severely affecting their ability to reproduce.
Even though the chemicals have been banned since 1987, the improper disposal of paints and equipment is still affecting the environment today. In addition to the leaching, sediment dredging in shipping lanes of industrial ports is also bringing the toxic compounds to the surface. The highest levels of PCBs in the world have been discovered off the coast of countries such as Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia and Britain, indicating that the problem is acutely European in nature.
Through their research, the scientists involved in studies revealing this problem have shown that the current practice regarding PCB disposal is inadequate. Tighter restrictions and regulations are needed to protect not only the marine life that is being affected, but to avoid any further damage inland as well. I urge you and the Directorate-General for Environment to create and enforce new rules regarding the disposal of materials containing these hazardous chemicals, and to protect marine life in European waters.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Yathin S. Krishnappa