The recent Deepwater Horizon BP oil leak disaster in the Gulf of Mexico well and truly eclipsed the Exxon Valdez oil spill of and now has the dubious distinction of being one of the largest oil spills on record. Latest official estimates August 2, state approximately 4. Effects of oil spills When oil is spilled or leaked into in waterways and the ocean, it spreads very quickly with the help of wind and currents. A single gallon of oil can create an oil slick up to a couple of acres in size!
Our planet, Earth, has large reserves of oil and gas trapped deep beneath its surface. Occasionally, these reserves develop cracks and some of the oil or gas seep out.
However, this is a part of nature and rarely causes any major damage. On the other hand, there are times when the same problem is causes because of human interference and it can cause a great deal of damage to marine ecosystems.
In the last thirty odd years, the issue of oil spills and their effects has taken on much importance. This is because when an oil spill occurs, it causes a multitude of problems for the environment and us.
An oil spill happens when liquid petroleum is released into the environment by vehicle, vessel or pipeline. It happens on a large scale and is mostly seen in water bodies. It happens due to human negligence and is a major form of pollution.
The source of the spill are many. Crude oil can be released by tankers on land. In water bodies, the spill occurs due to drilling rigs, offshore oil platforms and well.
An oil spills and their effects can also be experienced with refined petroleum or even waste oil from large scale industries.
What is common in all of them is that the damage caused by them is permanent and takes a long time to clean up. As oil spill, it floats on water and prevents sunlight to pass through it. The shiny substance that you see sometimes on top layer of water is nothing but oil which makes it difficult for plants and sea animals to survive.
Cleaning up of oil spill is no easy task. Various factors need to be considered before carrying out operations. Some of them being amount of oil spilled, temperature of water, type of beaches and many more.
Oil spill can prove fatal for plant, animal and human life. The substance is so toxic that it can cause massive loss of species that live in the sea. Oil spill penetrates into the plumage and fur of birds, breaks down the insulating capabilities of feather which makes them heavier, disallow them to fly and kill them via poisoning or hypothermia.Spilled oil affects both marine organisms and animals which live near the coastline.
It can decimate populations of certain species, and causes slow, agonizing deaths to others ¹. There are a number of ways oil effects the environment.
Recent major oil spill happened when an oil rig, Deepwater Horizon sank in the Gulf of Mexico. The spill released somewhere between to million gallons of crude oil into the environment. In the year alone, six oil spills were seen in the USA.
Effects of oil spills When oil is spilled or leaked into in waterways and the ocean, it spreads very quickly with the help of wind and currents. A single gallon of oil can create an oil slick up to .
Oil spills have a number of effects on the environment and economy. On a basic level, oil spill effects will damage waterways, marine life and plants and animals on the land. The impact of oil spills can also ruin the infrastructure and economy of a particular area with the long-term effects being felt for decades.
Nov 13, · In general, oil spills can affect animals and plants in two ways: from the oil itself and from the response or cleanup operations.
Understanding both types of impacts can help spill responders minimize overall impacts to ecological communities and help them to recover much more quickly. The effects of oil spills can have wide ranging impacts that are often portrayed by the media as long lasting environmental disasters.
Such perceptions are understandable as they are often fuelled by distressing images of oiled birds and other wildlife.