Marine life dying from boat paint pollution -WWF
October 31, 1998
LONDON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on Sunday urged world maritime authorities to ban the use of a toxic chemical in ships' paints, saying "disturbing evidence" of its effect on marine life is coming in from around the world. The environment pressure group said sea otters were dying off the U.S. coast and dolphins, whales, sea lions, sea birds and fish in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans were being poisoned by tributyltin (TBT).
TBT is used in antifouling "organotin" paints applied to ships' hulls to stop marine creatures sticking to them.
"The only way forward lies in a worldwide ban on the use of organotins in anti-fouling paints by 2001 and the development of environmentally friendly alternatives," said the head of WWF's British marine programme Sian Pullen.
He called on the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which meets in London this week, to take action. WWF said work it had supported in Germany along with ship owners and paint manufacturers had shown that biocide-free paints were effective in keeping hulls clear.
"By 2001, a range of alternatives to TBT-based paints will be well established, making this ban a realistic proposition for the IMO," it said.