Global concern – The Oil Spill
Oil spilling has gained its attention in the world nowadays. The Oil Spill has become a new face of Marine pollution. It has not only affected the sea creature’s survival but also affected the fisheries industries as well as tourism of the coastal area. According to the estimation of International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Ltd, a total of 62 spill incidents happened in which over 1.5 million tonnes of oil spilled out in the sea in the last decade. This led the oil spill to become a global concern to mankind.
However, the prevention efforts were started to overcome this issue and still these efforts are under improvements. The international bodies like The key international bodies are International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPC), United Nations Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC), and World Bank Oil, Gas, Mining and Chemicals are consistently making effort to control the oil spill accidents by implementing safety norms and methods. Apart from this, many government bodies from various countries and states spend a massive amount for inspection and to clear major oil spills from tanker ships and they got succeed up to the mark. But still, it is a major threat to the marine ecosystem.
The Oil Spill is the contamination of oil into the sea as the result of human error or natural calamity. Being one of the major sources of energies today, many countries are importing or exporting the oil on large scale across the seas by ships and on land by pipelines. During transportation, this oil has spilled out into the sea by accident either by pipe leakage or hitting of ship/oil tanks, etc. Sometimes, the oil has spilled during the drilling of the crust. As the oil is lighter in density than water, it floats on the water surface and forms a thin oil slick. By the time, the oil slick spreads continuously and becomes thinner and thinner. However, some oils having heavier density sinks into the sea.
The Effects on the Marine Eco System
Just like other pollutants, the Oil Spill being a major cause of Marine Pollution causes water pollution and becomes harmful to sea creatures. The spilled-out oil penetrates the furs of mammals like sea otters by covering it. This makes their insulation level against seawater to lower level. This results in poor protection against the temperature fluctuation of the seawater. It also destroys the water-repelling abilities of birds by exposing their feathers to such harsh elements of oil. Sometimes, many birds and sea animals swallow this oil and poisons themselves, and died due to this. Even, some sea fishes and shellfishes can digest this oil. But this causes a change in their reproduction systems, growth rates, or even leads them to death. These have made the oil spill as a global concern to the world.
The Prevention steps
The recovery method of spilled oil depends upon the type of oil and where it spilled out. Some spills may directly evaporate due to sun heat and do not require any human efforts. But those oils which cannot evaporate naturally require major attention. Some various tools and methods are discovered to clean up the spilled oil such as booms, skimmers, chemical & biological agents, Vacuuming methods, Shovels, etc. The weather of the affected area, type of spilled oil, and its amounts are the major factors to decide for using a suitable method.
Booms: The are large plastic barriers that prevent the oil slick to spread and lift the oil off the water.
Skimmers: The specially designed devices to skim the spilled oil.
Sorbents: it is an absorbent that absorbs oil.
Chemical and biological agents that help to break down the oil
The burning method in which the fire is used to burn the oil burned and evaporates them.
Shovels and other road equipment used to clean up oil on beaches.