Oil Spills: An Enviromental Problem
During the last decade, more than one billion gallons of oil spilled worldwide.
This extremely horrible accidents fortunatly happen rarely, but when they do; they are the most deadly things in the water, suffocating all life in it's wake and streaming out as far as the ocean's current can take them until humans come and clean it up. It mainly effects just the hydrosphere, but it can effect the other spheres as well.
What man does to the enviroment in this way is unfixable and limited, which is, drill crude oil out from beneath the oceanianic crust. Since this is fossil fuel, it is unreplenishable for at least thousands of years. The oil rigs stationed out in the ocean bore deep into the crust and drain oils out from it, then transports it to land by oil tankers and from there, extracts the oils out from the crude oil to use for fuels and other uses. But what the oil tankers have aboard them is extremely deadly to undefended wildlife, or to be more exact, marine bioloigical life. The oil carried atop the tanker ship must not spill out into the ocean because the oil that it contains leave dire consiquences if released into open water. Most companies know of these consiquences and take all the percaustions needed to keep the water safe when transporting it across the seas, but sometimes things happen. Sometimes the people that transport the oil become careless and cause oil to leak out of the tanker accidently, but there are other ways oil can get off a tanker into the ocean, The tanker can also run aground, into shore reefs, collide with other vessels, and fire in the ship and explosion of the cargo. Equipment breaking down may cause an oil spill. If the equipment breaks down, the tanker may get stuck on shallow land. When they start to drive the tanker again, they can put a hole in the tanker causing it to leak oil. Also, when other countries are at war with eachother, they can use tankers as biological weapons to destroy enviroment of they're enemy country; destroying tourism, visual appeal, and a food source. Terrorists can also cause these oil spills near other countries to prove their loyality to the millia they belong to, to prove an point to the country that they dump the oil near, or to attract the country's attention. Illegal dumpers dump unusable and/or processed crude oil into the ocean because they do not want to pay to have it decomposed so that it will be no more of a threat to the enviroment. These are the causes of what happens when oil is transported from off shore oil rigs to land, wiether they are accidents or not.
The effects of a broad spill can contain the following things:
1. Direct lethal toxicity - smothering, ingestion, inhalation
2. Sublethal - disruption of physiological and or behavioural activities
3. Effects of direct coating by oil – toxicity and loss of thermal capabilities (often lethal)
4. Incorporation of hydrocarbons in organisms and the food chain
5. Changes in biological habitat
The worst situation of what could go wrong after a spill is a storm or rough wave movement. The oil can also be evaporated up by the sun's heat, which can increase as the oil spreads, due to the increased surface area of the slick. The effects on the marine bioloigy around an oil spill is absolute devistation. After an oil spill, it only takes ten minutes for 1 ton of oil to expand itself over a radius of 50 m, creating a slick that is 10 mm thick. The slick gets thinner as oil continues to spread, covering an area of up to 12 km2. During the first several days after the spill, a considerable part of oil transforms into the gaseous phase and eventaully the slick loses water-soluble hydrocarbons; slowing it down to a halt. The gaseous phase of the oil rises up into the atmosphere and can cause birds that have stayed in the vicinity long enought to simply just down out of the sky into the oil slick beneath the because of the toxic fumes they have been inhaling. If the birds are covered in oil, they will die because they will try to clean themselves and become poisoned from digesting the oil on their feathers, or they will die due to low tempurature that the oil creates on the body of the animal. The hydrosphere gets the most impacted due to the amount living in the water where the accident occurs and the proximity of the accident to the habitat of the marine oraganisms. All larger organisms such as whales and seals become covered in the oil as they come up to breath for air, suffocating them while smaller sea creatures are effected by the toxic water that the oil creates; poisoning them or suffocating them, cloging their gills with the toxic waste. The toxicity can also kill plankton and other micro-organisms that other fish and creatures need to eat to survive. These are some of the effects that the spill could have.
So how do we prevent this? Taking into account of how much oil is used from off shore, which is only 2% of the world's usage of oil, we need to ask ourselves if it is a risk we should keep taking. Such destruction compaired to how much we actually use of the transported oil should speak for itself. Even after a cleanup job of an oil spill is done, it will Always have long term effects; taking into fact that cleanup jobs are inefficant at cleaning 100% of the spill up due to our current technology. Such extremist
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