An oil spill is the launch of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon into the environment, mainly the
marine ecosystem, due to human activity, and is a form of pollution. The term is generally given
to marine oil spills, the place oil is launched into the ocean or coastal waters, but spills might
also additionally take place on land.
Oil spills result in significant financial and environmental repercussions. Many types of aquatic
life are harmed by oil on ocean surfaces because it prevents enough sunlight from accessing
the surface and lowers the concentration of dissolved oxygen. Crude oil destroys the insulating
and waterproofing qualities of feathers and fur, which increases the risk of hypothermia in oil-
coated birds and marine mammals.
Additionally, ingested oil may be hazardous to the afflicted
animals, and damage to their habitat and rate of reproduction may hinder the long-term
recovery of animal populations from the immediate harm brought on by the spill. Additionally,
significant plant damage can result; mangroves and saltwater marshes are two important
coastline ecosystems that regularly experience oil damage.
Oil spills’ immediate environmental effects are clear, but it is more challenging to determine how
they will influence the local biological system in the long run. The expense of compensating
people and communities harmed by oil spills has served as a primary impetus to lessen the
likelihood of future occurrences and oil spill restoration.
Major oil spill cleanup techniques have yet to be completely satisfying, despite the fact that the
spectacular spills of the 20th century’s final decades spurred significant advancements in
technology and the coordination of coordinated responses. Responses to oil spills essentially
aim to contain the oil and remove enough of it to allow for the resumption of economic activity
and the takeover of the marine environment’s natural recovery processes.
To stop an oil slick
from spreading across the ocean’s surface, floating booms can be set close to the source of the
spill or at the entrances to channels and harbors. Similar to the deployment of booms, skimming
is a technique that works best in calm waters and incorporates a number of mechanisms.
Although all species of birds are susceptible to oil contamination, gulls, ducks, pelicans, auks,
grebes, terns, and loons are the most commonly impacted. The bird’s wing’s health deteriorates
significantly and loses its lustre. In order to repel water and shield the skin from extremes of
heat or cold, a bird’s wings are carefully organized in a line of feathers. However, oil that is too
sticky makes the feathers tangle and look unsightly.
As a result, the delicate skin is subjected to
extreme heat, which degrades its waterproofing capacity. Without the necessary protection of
their feathers, birds risk becoming too cold or too hot. They will also become unbalanced and
die in the water. Some birds attempt to remove the stuck-on oil.
Oil Spills’ Root Causes There are several reasons why oil leaks happen, some of which include:
Because of leaks from ships, wells, pipelines, and other oil carriers, it occurs on both land and
water. It may be brought on by mishaps involving drilling rigs, refineries, and ships. Storage
facilities might be to blame. Large-scale transportation and oil spills will be caused by the
production in the millions. People who make mistakes or occasionally act carelessly can
Equipment breakdowns are the cause of it. Disasters may also cause it to occur.
It may also happen as a result of those who engage in illicit employment. Resulting Oil Spills Oil
spills cause harm in a number of different ways.
Measures to control oil spill
First, the team should be properly trained and instructed on how to carry such ships to ports,
through various narrow channels, and throughout their journey, among other things, to ensure
that no oil leaks occur. If an oil leak does occur, the following are the various methods for
controlling it: In the event of an oil spill, the most common cleaning method is oil blooms, also
known as containment blooms. This equipment helps spread the oil even more.
If this equipment is present locally, it will be helpful; otherwise, oil will spread. If the wave velocity is
constant, it works; otherwise, it becomes difficult to clean up. Oil can be skimmed off with the
assistance of skimmers, which are also referred to as oil scoops, once the oil has been cleaned
and bounded by the oil blooms. It is the least expensive way to clean up.
Another way to get rid of the oil is with solvents. These are liquid absorbers, and natural
sorbents like straw, hay, and peat moss are utilized for oil leakage. They contribute to reducing
waste and pollution. In most cases, they are most effective for small spills. Burning is the next
most common and useful method for removing oil spills.
In order to extract 98% of the oil, the oil
is ignited in a manner similar to that of rice husk. The use of dispersants, also known as oil
disintegration, for which dispersal chemicals are used, is the alternative method. As a result,
bonded molecules sink further into the water, where they become available to microorganisms,
which then degrade them.