When a major oil spill occurs in the Gulf of Mexico, you will be updated with daily news about it for a few weeks to come. The news will chart its progress, damage, and cleanup efforts. However, major oil spills account for a small percentage of total oil pollution. If the ratio is so drastic, then why do these spills receive so much attention? The pie chart below from the textbook Ocean Our Planet by Robert Stewart portrays the proportions of oil pollution sources in worldwide marine waters.
This image shows how natural seeps of oil account for almost half of all oil pollution: “Oil seeps are common in many areas, including the Gulf of Mexico and offshore of Southern California, and in other areas where oil is found beneath the continental shelf” (Stewart). Second to natural seeps is consumptio...
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... visual aid is gone so is the event from their minds. Many people are surprised to find that natural runoff of oil accounts for more pollution than actual leaks and oil spills. Concentrated spills of heavy crude oil require immediate and intensive cleanup procedures. Boats with booms and skimmer equipment try to gather as much crude oil from the surface of the water as they can, while workers on shore use high pressure hot water to clean oil off of rocks. These cleanup procedures must be executed correctly or they can actually cause more damage to the environment than the oil itself. In addition dispersants used to break down large amounts of the crude oil can cause reproductive and health problems in a number of other species exposed to the mixture. All in all, oil spills and leaks can cause many negative implications on ecosystems near and far from the source.
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- On April 10, 2011, an oilrig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded. This explosion killed 11 crewmembers and caused the rig to sink to the bottom of the ocean. This caused an estimated 180-185 million gallons of oil to flow into the gulf. It wasn’t until July 15, 2010 until the oil was contained and stopped flowing. The Gulf was virtually covered in crude oil. There were many effects from this spill and many of them were environmental. Animals had to swim through this oil and birds that landed in it were no longer able to fly because of the heavy oil on their wings.... [tags: Oil]
992 words (2.8 pages)
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