Oil Spills Facts
What are Oil Spills?
Oil spills are oil and grease leaking from tanks, especially marine tankers that form a coating on water surfaces. They clog the gills of fish, fur of animals, plumage of birds.
Effects of Oil Spills on Marine Life
The coating of oil on the animals lowers their body temperature- which can cause their death. Animals may try to clean up the oil that is covering their body by eating it or trying to lick it off their skin. While doing so, they fall sick and die.
Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
There have been many major oil spills, but one oil spill that caused huge damage was the oil tanker Exxon Valdez. It left its harbour in March 1989, with 53 million gallons of crude oil ,from the coast of Alaska.
The oil tanker struck the Bligh reef, resulting in a leakage of about 11 million gallons of oil. This lead to the death of thousands of animals instantly. It is believed that the effect of the oil spill is felt till date.
Oil Spill Clean Up Methods
- Containment means trying to control an oil spill. This involves controlling the size and location of the spill.
- Booms (temporary floating barriers) are used. They help concentrate the oil in thicker layers. This makes the skimmers’ job easier. Skimmers are boats that are able to remove the oil off the water.
- Airplanes are used to drop off chemicals into the ocean where the spill has occurred in order to break down the oil in the ocean.