Environmental Threat from Oil Spillage
Today, oil is the largest energy producer, and the whole world could not do without it. However, oil has become a threat to the environment and it needs to be controlled, together with new means of energy that pose less threat should be used to reduce the damage caused by its spillage. In this article, the focus is on oil spillage in the sea that poses a great hazard to the ecosystem and the living organism in it, as well as the consequences that come along if quick action is not addressed.
When a large amount of oil spillage occurs in the sea, it poses a threat of eliminating species of animals living around, and at the same time posing a threat to a rich source of human food, not forgetting the health complication that could arise. Large oil spillage kills many animals in the sea such as the whale, if it feeds on a fish with oil, or else, if the oil got into its blow hole, its chances of surviving are minimal, and the birds around the sea are the most affected, since most die when the oil gets on to their feathers. The plants in the water are affected by the harmful chemicals too, such as tar that remains on shore to contaminate the water. The chemicals contained in the oil, such as hydrocarbon and heavy metals that have a harmful effect to the living orgasms remain afloat the surface, making it hard for air to get to the water, and all the organisms under are posed with health problems and suffocation (Trefil and Hazen ,2010).
There are many causes of oil spillage in the water caused by human errors, and others could find their way naturally through the rivers running to the sea. Most of the spillage is known to come from the tankers, which may experience technical problems, hit an iceberg, or even Bligh reefs. Other spillage can occur from pipelines that could leak the oil into the land, and eventually, it would reach the sea when washed by the rainwater, and into rivers that drain in the sea. During production on the offshore drilling, an error could cause leakage, that is usually hard to control, and the amount of spilled oil is high, and can spread many miles in the sea.
After an oil spillage, there are several solutions used to rectify this problem, to help reduce the harmful effect to the environment. One of the solutions used is skimming, where the oil is skimmed from the water using tubes that are fitted with fine filters that take the oil from the water. Natural degradation is another solution for small spillages, which may not be harmful to the environment, where the sun and wind degrade the oil. Another solution to oil spillage is using dispersants that helps in breaking down of oil by breaking it into droplets that form together and sink, to enhance natural degradation. In addition, adding biological chemicals such as nitrogen would be helpful in the same way as the dispersants (Van, C., 2011). These are solution to a spill, but are not the solutions to prevent spillage, which can only be through greet care by human beings, in their operations.
Oil is a danger to the environment, and if such spillages are not prevented, fatal consequences could occur to the ecosystem, where the balance may be lost, and this could lead to major threats. If oil spills such as the Gulf oil spill are not checked, the marine animals including the plants such as planktons would not grow, and being the big primary source of food in the sea, many animals will face extinction. Human beings too would face a threat of health related problems, especially the aquatic sportsmen.
The Saint Leo core value of Responsible Stewardship states that we are blessed with abundance of resources, and we should employ them to fulfill our communities. By this, the core value suggests that we should use the resources available, such as oil, for development of community, but in a responsible way, which does not do the opposite, of destroying the community through pollution. Respect core value from Saint Leo means working together harmoniously, to solve problems and live in a balanced way, appreciating each other. In this issue, human beings must learn to appreciate each other as well as animals, and prevent pollution, since in doing so means caring for each other and respect for nature.
Trefil, J. and Hazen, R.M. (2010). The sciences: an integrated approach.Marshall, TX: Wiley
Van, C. (2011). Solutions to Oil Spills. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/way_5201147_solutions-oil-spills.html
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