Sunday, January 17, 2010

Oil spills have long-term negative effect on environment

Oil spills, especially the really large oil spills, like this was the case with infamous 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker spill can present a source of pollution for decades. In fact, scientists have recently reported that oil from the Exxon Valdez tanker spill that happened 20 years ago still lies trapped beneath its beaches, meaning that it still pollutes shores in the Prince William Sound, Alaska.

It now turns out that these oil spills last much longer than scientists have previously thought. The most scientists believed that the nature with the small help of technology would be enough to quickly remove traces of oil but sadly this was not the case with the Exxon Valdez spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in history.

At first it looked like the oil will vanish in few years time, as the starting rate of which oil was disappearing was 70 percent but very soon disappearance of the oil has heavily decreased to only about 3-4 % per year. Current estimates say that today there is around 20,000 gallons of oil still remaining, still causing environmental damage in this part of the world.

And the worst part in this whole story is that oil spills around the Arctic could become much more frequent, especially as climate change is melting up the ice cover and warming up the Arctic area, and with it exposing Arctic to oil exploration and shipping through sea routes such as the Northwest Passage.

We still haven't learned enough from the past mistakes, and any new mistake of this kind could cause yet another big environmental disaster.

This image shows what kind of damage can oil spill do to wildlife.

No comments:

Post a Comment