Watching a News Special about an oil spill in the Ocean will generally invoke some concern or shock from the public. Awareness of the implications are often reduced or not widely discussed. In a sweeping under the rug motion, many corporations rush to the scene to become involved in the clean up efforts. While it is appreciated the endeavor is partially funded by these companies, it is a vast disturbance that cannot be entirely rectified. The impact to the Ocean after an oil spill creates in depth complications that can last for years to come.

There have been several spills over the decades from pipelines, oil rigs and tankers that have been damaged. Companies explain it is an inevitable part of transport and they are taking extreme measures to correct the situation. Corporations have taken positive steps in the right direction to reduce the risks to the Oceans. As consumers, it is important to understand the ramifications of these oil spills and why it is imperative we continue to move forward both innovatively and consciously.

Oil Spills and The Ocean

Oceanic Life – The effects of oil is catastrophic on Marine life. The oil that spills may contain fatal level of toxins and chemicals. It is thick and enduring with the ability to physically smother and suffocate the Oceans inhabitants. Not only does this cause a mass mortality, it can have lasting effects as it works through the layers. The damage is not restricted to only fish. Mammals, amphibians, reptiles and even birds are targets of the spill. The poisonous components can inhibit reproductive systems for years to come. This generates an immeasurable imbalance in our Oceanic systems.

The Waters – With a coating of tar like oil covering the waves, there is a notable decrease of sunlight that is able to penetrate into the water. This effects the temperature of the Ocean which in turn creates an alternate habitat and Oceanic environment. This essentially applies to the plant life in the Oceans. Algae and the natural order of the Oceans process is at risk for several years after a spill of any magnitude.

How is it Cleaned?

Once word is received there has been a spill, it becomes an all hands on deck alert. The threats to the Ocean are evaluated based on how much was spilled, what it contains and the location of the incident. The quicker crews can reach the area, the better the long term prognosis. The broken equipment that caused the occurrence is immediately worked on to prevent further spills. If they reach the spill within a few hours, they will use a barrier of sorts to contain the contaminant. The oil on the surface is then skimmed for removal. Dissolvents are used to break down the properties to expedite the cleanup.

The animals and Aquatic life that are in distress are cleaned and cared for by professionals. Unfortunately, many will be lost to the spill, however the survivors will bring a beacon of hope making the hours and days of cleanup work worth every effort.