Summary: Research suggests that pyridine, an industrial solvent used in manufacturing and a by-product of coking coal, dredged up during the widening of the Teesport shipping canal, could be to blame for thousands of dead crabs and lobsters washing up.
Why this is important: Industrial revival can sustain communities and provide infrastructure for new greener industrial processes and products. But how we get there is important.
The big theme: The transition to greener and more sustainable industries and way of life can require significant change and disruption. It is important to understand where that disruption may be contributing to the problem that the development of greenfield or redevelopment of brownfield sites are designed to solve. This could flag potential future liabilities.
Summary of a story from The Conversation:
Thousands of crabs and lobsters that washed up on the north-east coast of England last year were either dead or dying. An initial report from the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) concluded that Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) were to blame.
However, further research conducted by among others the University of York and University of Newcastle, suggest that pyridine, an industrial solvent used in manufacturing and a by-product of coking coal, could be to blame. It has been found to be highly toxic to crabs and could have been released by dredging being carried out to widen and deepen the Teesport shipping canal which released as much as 150,000 tonnes of sediment.
Although pyridine was found in the crabs examined by DEFRA’s Environment Agency, they did not detect it in the water samples taken, due to its highly volatile nature and water solubility, and hence dismissed it as a potential cause.