The Effects of Oil Spill on the Marine Environment

By | October 23, 2017

It is difficult to give a precise estimate of the effects of an oil spill because the effects may depend upon such factors as the amount of oil spilled, the oil characteristics, the type of oil, and the local conditions at the time of the spill. However, some of the effects of oil spilled on the marine environment is highlighted as follows:

Ecological Effects

According to the Manual on Oil Pollution published by the IMO, ecological effects are considered the effects which results from a spill related to physical and chemical changes in habitats, in growth, physiology and behaviour of individual organisms and species. The spills also lead individual organisms and species to die. However, the effects on marine life are based upon the nature and the age of the oil spilled; considerable varieties of animals and algae are also killed.

It has been indicated that seabirds and mammals are contaminated by floating oil on the surface of the sea. The oil can harm seabirds and mammals by coating their feathers and fur which make them difficult to move from one side to another. For instance, the spill of 35, 000 tons of crude oil following the grounding of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska in March 1989 resulted in over 30,000 known seabird deaths and probably very many more.

Dispersed oil or water-in-oil emulsion floating on the surface of the sea water can have an impact on the fishing activities within the areas which are affected. Therefore, the consequences of an oil spill will cause a very serious damage to the marine lives even in a spill incident of a small amount of oil.

Biological Effects

Numerous studies have been conducted to learn more about the biological effects of oil on marine organisms and research has shown that the components of the oil in the sea water can interfere with sex behaviour of marine animals and effect on chemical orientation of the marine environment.

Most importantly, oil can increase biological oxygen demand (BOD) and interfere with natural processes such as re-aeration and photosynthesis which enormously influences food supply of plants and wildlife, particularly fish.

Economic Effects

The economic effects of oil spill on human activities such as recreation, industry, and fishery can be very considerable. When oil spills on beaches, it adversely affects the business of hotels and restaurants by interfering with bathing and boating. Furthermore, For Full Article Visit Our facebook page and Twitter @chuanigeria.com

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