Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.
Local County Councils in Ireland have been issuing warnings for, Palm Oil Fatbergs, that have been washing up on Irish Shores. Some of the Fatbergs are oversized chunks and others are large, boulder sized fatty deposits lining our beautiful seashores.
Fingal County Council wrote; “A number were found on Sunday at Hoare’s Rock, Skerries, and results from laboratory tests have showed that the substance was Palm Oil. It is believed that the Palm Oil was part of a consignment which came off a ship in the English Channel about 18 months ago and was washed ashore by the weekend storm. The congealed substance has been turning up sporadically on beaches and coasts in England but this is the first time it has been recorded in Fingal.”
Most worryingly, these Fatbergs are toxic to dogs, who can be attracted to their diesel like smell.
A Fatberg is not just a term for Palm Oil though, it refers to any large mass of solid waste and is often a term used when describing London’s sewage problems, where congealed fats, oils and sanitary products have become congealed together to form solid masses.
The best way to help this problem is to make a concerted effort to cut down on single use waste, and opt for reusable items for cleaning your face, make-up removal, nappies, kitchen cleaning, etc.
Household oil is a trickier product to recycle, but pouring it down the sink can cause these blockages, and can build up, causing oxygen levels in the water to shrink and wildlife to suffocate. Instead, you should let the oil cool first, transfer it to a sealable container and take it to your local recycling centre (if they accept oil, which not all will). Where they are accepted, these oils are cleaned and recycled in animal feed and fuel adapted for cars.
Otherwise, you can compost oil in small amounts, but large amounts of oil slows down the composting process.
For large quantities of oil, Enva offer a pick up and recycling service.
For more information on what you can recycle in Irish recycling centres, click here.