Oil Spill and Its Effects

Sep 9, 2017   //   by admin   //   Knowledge Base  //  No Comments

Let us first try to understand the definition of oil spills. According to many definitions proposed oil pollution incident means an occurrence or series of occurrences having the same origin, which results or may result in a discharge of oil and which poses or may pose a threat to the marine environment or the coastline or related interests of one or more states and which requires emergency action or other immediate response”

But, through this definition it is not clear as to why this oil pollution has such drastic impacts on environment. Let us first understand oil and its related potential threats.

Oil is a formed through mixture of many different chemicals and hence there exists many different types of oil. Within one particular category, varying proportions of chemicals lead to differences in the quality.
To understand severity of the issue of oil spills or pollution, it is essential to understand the different types of oils and the impact it can have when it spills either on water or land.

Basis of Differentiation: oil can be differentiated on many categories such as Viscosity: its indicates the resistance to flow.
Volatility : The capacity of the oil to get evaporated when exposed to air. and Toxicity: not all oils are advantageous in nature. The level of poison to human or environment is one of the quality of oil.

Types of Oil:

  1. Gasoline: Its very light density oil that evaporates in day or two but carries high concentration of toxic compounds that are water soluble. Eg. Jet Fuels.
  2. Light Crude oil: this is light dense oil whose volatility is moderate with moderate toxic components. This has long term contamination in interdial regions. Eg. Diesel, fuel oils.
  3. Most Crude Oil: It is moderately dense and hence evaporates in one day having highly severe contamination and long term effects, impacting the water for a long duration of time.
  4. Heavy Crude Oil: this is highly dense oil whose evaporation or dissolution is not possible. It has high severe contamination and long term effects on the quality of water and animals. Eg. Fuel oils, bunkers etc

Oil Spills generally takes place in water bodies but can also exist on lands. Through the land as well, the oil may take a discharge into water and hence it is necessary to understand that oil spills whether on land or water- it lays severe damages to nature. Causes of Spill:

  1. Many spills happen due to accidents such as carelessness, pipelines are damaged due to structural failure, excessive pressure failure of storage tanks etc.
  2. Oil Discharge: Many illegal oil drainage systems have been observed which discharge the used, crude oil directly into nearby sea thereby polluting the water.
  3. Calamities: Earthquakes, hurricanes can sometimes damage the storage devices and cause open the tankers into water. During war time, countries throw water gallons.
  4. Land-accumulation: petroleum run vehicles release during function. This accumulates on road or ground, poisoning the soil. After rains, these are carried away to local reservoirs , streams and hence ocean.

Effects of Oil Spills: There are many long lasting and severe impacts faced by marine and nearby wildlife directly. This is also linked to reduction in drinking water both for animals dependent on it as well as human kind. However the impact can be varied on many scales such as type of oil spilled, location of spill, kind of species/wildlife in that area, timing of breeding or any seasonal migration.

Oil spill has been found to be one of the major factors in accelerating the extinction of many species. Attack of oil spills over their fur and feathers devoid them with their ability to protect themselves from their predators. Also, since these become prey, their breeding season passes and not many further offspring are reproduced. This disturbs the entire ecological balance.

There are animals that suffer instantly while the spill has taken over while there are animals that get affected from the spill later. Such species suffer many issues like ulcers, blindness, conjunctivitis, stress, decrement in Red blood cells.

The oil is lighter than the water and hence it floats over the surface of the water. This water being contaminated reduces the drinking water for the people living around the coastal surrounding- affecting the health and hygiene for a lot of people.
Considering most communities living around the coastal regions belong from fishing community. It severely affects their fishing business thereby impacting their finances. Also, if those fishes are consumed, there is a threat of infections passed to the humans.

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