By: Morgan Jerry
What is Petroleum Pollution?
Where Has This Occurred?
In Mayflower, Arkansas, there was a massive spill in which up to 7,000 barrels of crude oil spilled after a pipeline broke. Homes had to be evacuated around the area, as the substance put citizen's health at risk. Luckily in this case, the oil had not reached the nearest lake which is Lake Conway so no aquatic organisms were harmed. The gas of the oil however, released highly toxic hydrocarbons which could severely and negatively affect the health of those in the area.
Considered to be the most devastating oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, the BP oil spill of the Gulf of Mexico sure is one of the most well known. Just under 5 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico during this incident. It last from April 20th, 2010 to July 15th, 2010. It was officially capped however on September 19th, 2010. 11 oil rig workers were killed during this accident as well when the wellhead exploded. Using bluefin tuna as an example organism, scientist wanted to see what effects the oil had on the species that inhabited the gulf. They found that the fish suffered from effects as drastic as irregular heartbeats, four years after the spill when the study was conducted. This incident had long-term effects on the marine life in the gulf, and also the United States and its economy as a whole, and continues to do so to this day.
How Are Humans Impacted?
Humans and animals alike rely on bodies of water for a number of reasons. Our supply of water is relatively limited so obviously polluting it in the way petroleum can is devastating. We need water to drink and would not survive without it. Humans also consume a great deal of fish and bring in a lot of money from the fishing industry. The economy would drop if petroleum pollution were to spread more rapidly. We also would have less food to eat, regardless of what it does to humans financially, as the fish would die.
How Are Animals Impacted?
Marine mammals that have been covered in the thick oil may have difficulty moving around in the water, and therefore may die because of it. Oil can also block the gills of fish and cause whales to be unable to filter water properly. For marine organisms, these oceans and rivers are their homes. If they are flooded and polluted with petroleum products, they will not survive. It is impossible for them to breathe with toxic liquid coating them and everything else in their habitat. Oil spills can and do devastate aquatic environments.
Most Polluted Area
World's Largest Recorded Oil Spill
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