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Pollution, Bexhill

Volume 164: debated on Friday 12 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will investigate the risks posed by drums of (a) sodium cyanide, (b) dioxins, (c) sulphuric and (d) hydrochloric acids on beaches at and near Bexhill in Sussex.

[holding answer 1 January 1990]: I am aware that containers, drums and packages, a few containing hazardous substances, have been washed ashore at a number of locations along the south and east coasts in recent weeks. It is thought that they originate from a Pakistani-owned and registered vessel, the Muree, which sank off the Devon coast on 28 October last year.The Department of Transport's marine pollution control unit has examined the ship's manifest and has advised Ministers that none of the cargo would pose a significant threat to the marine environment. However, some substances which were on board could be hazardous to people who come into direct contact with them. Warning messages have been issued to fishermen and local authorities in areas where it is thought they may come ashore.