What is a fatberg, why are they blocking London's sewage system and why are they so dangerous?
8th January 2019

Dogs love the "diesel-like" smell of the deadly white lumps, dubbed "fatbergs", which are dumped legally by ships, often in the Caribbean and they are also cloggin up London's sewage system.

What is a fatberg?

The term fatberg is typically used to describe congealed lumps of fat, sanitary items, wet wipes and other waste found in sewers.

But now so-called fatbergs from the Caribbean, branded "death from paradise", have made their way onto British shores.

The waxy white blobs, some like small boulders, may appear harmless but can be lethal and have already killed many pets.

The substance can also be dangerous to humans if they come into close contact with it.

Why are fatbergs so dangerous to dogs?

Fatbergs are particularly dangerous because dogs love the smell of the palm oil contained in the blobs – but if eaten, it is poisonous and has already killed.

Palm oil is a vegetable oil derived from the pulp of the fruit of African, American and Maripa palms.

It's a waxy substance, yellow or white in colour and smells strongly of diesel or firelighters.

Many experts and dog walkers are worried that there are more poisonous fatbergs floating around our seas, ready to wash up at a moment's notice.

Although you wouldn't want your children putting the fatbergs in their mouths on the beach, palm oil is found in many everyday items such as soap and shampoo and is harmless to humans.

However, in its solid form, it is fatal to dogs – inducing stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Treatment, including vomit-inducing medicine, injections and a large dose of antibiotics, can be pricey.

How can dogs be kept safe from fatbergs?

Dog owners and beachcombers are warned to give a wide berth to the lumps, which look a bit like candle wax.

Coast protection officer for Thanet District Council Tony Child said:"If there is anything that looks hazardous on our beaches, we will react promptly to clean up any incidents in conjunction with other authorities.

"We ask the public to maintain a close watch on their animals when exercising them on Thanet’s beaches."

TV vet Marc Abraham says owners should not let their dogs tuck in because the blobs – covered in deadly germs – will kill them.

"Dogs will pick up anything on the beach, from pebbles, to food to palm oil," he warned.

"These things can cause two-fold problems, the first is gastro, the second is foreign body obstructions.

"As the palm oil is so gelatinous it can get lodged in the oesophagus and require emergency surgery.

"If you think your dog has swallowed something it shouldn't, contact your vet immediately."

How can fatbergs block sewers?

Fatbergs made up of grease from food can block sewers and cause flooding.

It took nine weeks for engineers to remove a 130-tonne fatberg from a sewer in Whitechapel, East London.

It stretched for more than 250 metres and also contained wetwipes and baby's nappies.

Such was the achievement to clear the fatberg that an exhibition was put on at the Museum of London running from February to July 2018.

In January 2019, a fatberg 64 metres long was found in Sidmouth, Devon, blocking a sewer.

Source: Read Full Article