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06th Oct 2023

‘Putrid’ fatberg washes up on beach in Galway, posing risk to local pets

Fiona Frawley

fatberg galway beach

Dog owners in the area have been advised to keep their animals on leads.

A warning has been issued to pet owners around Silverstrand, Galway after a suspected palm oil fatberg washed up on the beach, the Connacht Tribune has reported.

A fatberg is a rock-like mound of waste matter usually found in the sewer system, formed when oil, grease and fat poured down drains is combined with non-biodegradable solids such as wet wipes, nappies and cotton buds. As the name suggests, it’s technically a hard blob of fat.

Fatbergs will continue to grow and expand as they collect more inorganic matter, can cause serious damage and take months to be broken down – in 2017 a fatberg weighing the same as 11 double decker buses and stretching the length of two football pitches blocked a section of London’s sewage network, with a team of workmen and machinery taking almost a month to break the mass up.

Deadly bacteria

While the Silverstrand fatberg isn’t quite as weighty, it still poses a risk to the local area and animals in particular on two fronts – the oil could lodge in an animals throat upon ingestion, or contact poisoning could occur as fatbergs are often covered in a deadly layer of bacteria.

According to the Tribune, the fatberg was first spotted by Knocknacarra resident Megan Gordon who managed to remove it, with some assistance. It’s believed the mound is mainly made up of palm oil due to its “putrid diesel smell”, and according to according to local Councillor Níall McNelis who reported the find to the City Council’s Environment Department, it is suspected that it was dumped from a cruise or cargo ship.

Header image via Wikipedia / Getty 


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