Oil spills and Separation

By: Natasha and Leanne

Ways to clean oil spills

There are two branches of cleaning up the oil. There is the mechanical way and the chemical way. The mechanical way means to contain and recover the oil the chemical way is to disperse or clean the oil. These 2 methods help clean the waters quickly before it reaches the shoreline.

The mechanical methods are containment and skimming, the buoyant brooms float on the water and helps contain the slick and prevents oil from spreading out. Boats then suck or scoop the oil into containment tanks.

Another method is called sorbent, these are sponges that absorb the oil. If the oil is far from the coast, in situ burning is used. Its when they light the oil on fire to create toxic smoke.

If we leave the oil in the water it will eventually evaporate but that will cause the wildlife to be in danger.

Oil spills near tropical areas are handled with dispersant, this helps break down the oil with chemicals. This could be dangerous to marine life if they consume it.

A way to clean oil spills that have reached the shore is by using phosphorus and nitrogen to help the micro-organisms grow. The growing micro-organisms break the oil into natural components like fatty acids and carbon dioxide.

Impact of oil spills versus the usage of oil

The impact that oil spills create is catastrophic. The chemicals in the oil are poisonous to living creatures such as marine life. It slowly endangers animals and it affects the food chain. Oils kill the animals by getting into their diet, suffocating them, being absorbed by their skin and causing their eyes to irritate them. It also effects humans because we'll have shortage of oil and takes time to clean up the beaches. The food chain is affected as well, marine life can't eat neither can humans eat fish.

We humans use oil a lot. We use it as fuel, in asphalt, for heating, cooking and in plastics. It is part of our everyday lives.

Even though oil is part of our everyday lives we believe we should start to reduce the use of it. Oil kills all different kinds of marine life. It endangers innocent animal lives and their species. Imagine Earth without penguins or fish. There is only a limited amount of oil in this world so if we do reduce the usage of oil it will benefit us too.

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