Oil pollution Facts - Oil pollution in ocean waters, causing a vapor barrier rapidly affecting the marine fauna, especially mammals and birds. But it also prevents gas exchange and the passage of sunlight, phytoplankton elements used in photosynthesis.
Oil is a hydrocarbon, organic compound consisting solely of carbon and hydrogen. The oil is highly polluting, and its spill in ocean waters, is becoming more common, and its effects are prolonged for a long time, forming an impervious film on the surface, rapidly affecting aquatic wildlife, mostly birds and mammals .
The contamination by crude or refined home can be accidental or intentional. Nearly half the oil that reaches ocean waters come from land, swept by river currents. Another important part comes from the waste of the boats that ply the seas every day.
It is estimated that around 1.5 billion tonnes of oil are transported annually by the seas. It is also common for tankers using sea water as ballast and return contaminated with oil. Other tankers pump the waste oil at sea as waste. It is estimated that these two forms are thrown into the sea 3.5 million tons of oil.
Another form of pollution comes from drilling oil and gas wells in coastal waters and underwater pipes leak. In the oil industry, spilling almost half in the drilling area, which means big losses and pollution of air, water and soil. The traditional way to remove or recover the oil with water is pumped which represents a substantial loss of water.
Oil pollution accidents:
In 1979 in the Gulf of Mexico, occurred the largest oil spill at sea, in the Ixtoc-1 oil well. It took eight months to plug the leak and spilled 700 million gallons of oil into the Gulf waters. However, the volume of oil spilled at times, is less than the volume of oil spewing from the well during normal operations: washing with water tankers marine, transportation, and oil-contaminated water drawn by the ocean. Natural outbreaks also release large quantities of oil into the ocean in several places.
In 1983 came the biggest crash of a tanker, Bellver Castle, which caught fire and spilled nearly 300 million gallons of oil off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa.
Each week occurs spills of oil or other pollutants. There is a type of bacteria that produce a highly viscous polysaccharide, known as "xanthan gum", which functions as a thickener, and mixed with the water used to extract oil from wells in a more easy and economical. Also used in the oil recovery process.
The effects of oil pollution:
The effects of marine pollutants depend on several factors: type of oil, amount, distance from the beach contaminated site, time of year, weather conditions, mean water temperature and currents
Ocean. The oil forms a waterproof layer on the water, which prevents the passage of sunlight used by phytoplankton for photosynthesis process, interfere with gas exchange, covering the skin and gills of aquatic animals, causing death by asphyxiation .
Oil spilled at sea evaporates or is degraded by bacteria, in a very slow process. Volatile organic hydrocarbons immediately kill several types of aquatic organisms, particularly larval stage. In the warm waters of these hydrocarbons evaporate into the atmosphere, in one or two days, and cold water this may take up to a week.
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