How Do Oil Spills Affect The Environment?

Large-scale oil spill by the sea

Oil spills, whether on a small or large scale, can severely damage the environment. Fortunately, there are several tools that can make cleaning up after a spill relatively easier.

Oil spill kits are a good example. The main purpose of these products is not to just clean; they likewise aim to contain the spill within a specific radius and prevent it from spreading. Most of the materials contained in a spill kit are absorbents. Spill kits come in various sizes, depending on the size and scope of the spill.

It is good that effective clean-up tools now exist. Oil spills are not just messy on the surface, they can also do damage deep down, which would require immediate attention. But how exactly do oil spills damage the environment? Read on to find out.

Devastating Damage

Take a common oil spill situation: the ocean or any other body of water. Whilst the oil and water will not mix, the former can find its way to where it can do damage. A few examples include mangrove forests and beaches teeming with marine life. The oil coats everything it touches and will remain there until an external force cleans it up. Plants are likely to absorb the oil through their roots. Whilst the plants might not die immediately, they will leave some sort of oil-slicked wasteland that will not be suitable for new life forms.

As for the animals, the effects of an oil spill are more straightforward. Sea birds can be among the most affected species. These animals rely on their feathers both for flying and swimming. If their wings are covered in oil, they cannot fly. Not to mention the noxious fumes they inhale from the oil covering their bodies. Birds and other animals are being poisoned slowly.

Heavy oils are darker and sticky, and might resemble tar at first glance. They typically serve as fuel for large ships. Light oils, on the other hand, are the likes of gasoline and diesel. Light oils are more flammable than heavy oils, and also tend to be more toxic. Heavy oils are not as noxious, but they are equally dangerous because they are thick and difficult to clean or remove.

It is hard to imagine how clean-up would be without the spill kits and other absorbent materials. Every household, ship, business or industrial facility must invest in an effect spill control strategy to minimise the impact of oil spills on the environment.