Assessing impacts of tributyltin (TBT) on multiple coastal uses
Antifouling paints are applied on the hulls of ships and boats to control the growth of fouling organisms and reduce their deleterious effects such as slowing of the ship speed, increase in fuel consumption and maintenance costs, etc. TBT (tributyltin) paints replaced copper-based paints due to their superior performance in terms of efficacy and duration. However, TBT has been described as the most toxic substance ever introduced into the marine environment. The high toxicity of TBT together with its tendency to be accumulated in marine organisms can cause heavy damage to marine organisms. The IMO (International Maritime Organization) at a convention approved of a resolution, which includes complete prohibition of organotin compounds in antifouling systems by 2008. Signatures of about 25 nations, whose combined flagged fleet equals 25% of the world fleet, are necessary for the convention to come into force. However, concerns have been raised that the hostility towards the use of TBT appears to be based on a very biased assessment. Environmental benefits of TBT have been ignored and little thought has been given to a technical rather than a legislative solution to control TBT inputs into the environment. Long-term biocidal properties of existing alternatives are largely untested as also their environmental impacts. The indicator used for determining environmental impacts such as imposex has been challenged by the scientists. In this context, the project examines the implications of pollution by TBT and its ban, and costs and benefits of TBT-based antifoulants and other alternatives. It will suggest alternative antifouling strategies, develop tools for monitoring and managing environmental impacts of organotin compounds, and raise awareness towards this end. It will also develop a biomonitoring system to regulate the impacts of TBT that exist in coastal environments.