Emily shoes, pillows, toilet seat, laptop. Another use

Emily Ann MathewsMs. Mcnamara English 3 honors December 3, 2017 Are we poisoning planet Earth?”Environmental pollution is an incurable disease. It can only be prevented” -Barry Commoner. Equivalent to many environmental problems, oil spills are one of the environmental issues that contribute to the death and extinction of many marine and non-marine animals. Some of the biggest spills that happened throughout the history of oil production could be prevented. Not only does it affect marine life it’s also damaging numerous cycles that’s keep the environment and us humans alive and well. Due to these spills, small lives and also the habitat they live in are in danger. If these spills are not prevented, oil spills can lead to being one of the tops ranked major environmental issues like global warming, deforestation, and climate change.  What is oil needed for? well, there are multiple uses for oil and you can find it in many daily things you use every day. For example, Plastic is the fundamental resource that can be connected to a daily life use of oil. There should be at least three or more objects on your desk that is made out of plastic. Oil is also found in many household minerals like shoes, pillows, toilet seat, laptop. Another use of oil, according to the U.S EIA (Energy Information Administration) ” about 75% of the 6.79 billion barrels of petroleum used in the US in 2012 were gasoline, heating oil/diesel fuel, and jet fuel”. As you can see oil is a natural gas that can’t be avoided. It is used in many forms of ways to make a variety of things that are used in our daily lives. (“What is oil needed for?”) and  (“U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA – Independent Statistics and Analysis.”)How do oil spills occur? oil spills can happen in various ways. Some of them including equipment problems, illegal dumping, natural disasters, and anthropogenic causes (such seen in the BP oil spill which happened in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010). Accidental spills, which includes storage, handling, transportation, offshore drilling are the most famous among the ways a spill can occur. To further explain these accidental spills, storing the oil inside a ship or in an underground tank can develop leaks over the time and if not maintained by the industry which is responsible for maintaining these tanks, it can turn into a bigger problem and could eventually cause many marine and non-marine life to extinct.  (“How Do Spills Happen?”) and (“Oil Spill Pollution Causes”)Oil .vs. Marine and Nonmarine LifeImagine clumps of oil stuck to birds and its helpless face striving to survive. It’s sad to imagine but its reality. Most oil spills end up killing thousands of marine and nonmarine. According to Central for Biological Diversity during the BP Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010 more than 82,000 birds got harmed, with 102 species harmed or in danger. Also, 25,900 marine mammals were also harmed by this horrible spill, with 3-4 species killed off. Including in the marine mammals, 128 dead dolphins and whales were found dead. Moving on, as said by the Vice News “All of the natural resources of the northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem were threatened and many were injured, some severely, as a result of the Deepwater Horizon incident,” this was stated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration after a study they did for five years. (“THE GULF OIL SPILL AND THE UNFOLDING WILDLIFE DISASTER.” ) and ( Matt Smith).The Modern Oil SpillsMiddle East is known for its production of oil and is filled with billions of gallons of oil. Its economy is basically run by oil as it holds most of the oil in the world. Some of the world’s notorious oil spills happened in the middle east as well, Spills like the Arabian Gulf / Kuwait oil spill, which happened on 1991 intentional by Iraqi troop, who set fire to more than 600 oil well, which burned for 8 months (February to November). This fire released over  six to 10 million barrels of oil , spreading over 4,000 square miles containing hazardous mixture of gases which is spread into the environment and also ecosystems killing numerous things along its path. Even though Kuwait recovered largely from this tragic spill, there were long-term effects set by this spill, like environmental damage, health issues, and many diseases that are still seen in people in the middle east today. (Laurie Duncan) and  (Laura Moss)Largest oil spill in U.S.A The largest spill to happen in the United States was the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.The oil spill released 4.2 million barrels of oil into the Gulf destroying all the marine life in its way. Within days it traveled to the shores of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The people living around these shores lines protested and business that depended on sea life quick went out of business.  Even after so many years the legacy of the spill still remains. According to CNN news, even after 5 years ( a report published in 2015 ) the oil is still in the ocean and it could become a long-term problem to the environment and the living organisms in it. The oil industry that was running the oil extraction was BP. BP had to spend 61.8 billion on cleanup and also the rebuilding of the shorelines for 4 states that were affected by the spill. In an interview given to the CNN news, the vice president of BP stated: “there is no doubt birds, fish, turtles, sub-sea vegetation and even sediment species were all affected in the immediate aftermath of the spill”. It was good to hear that the company understood the effects of the spill to the environment. Moving on, BP did take action about removing most of the oil and prepared oil sink shorelines. (Drew Griffin, Nelli Black and Curt Devine) and (Richard Pallardy)Building and disposing of the oil tankers Tankers that are active today are old and the time had passed for them to be destroyed. Old tankers are not safe in a way that they can easily spill oil into the sea due to there lack of protection. The reason behind it is the way the tanker is build. Most of the old tankers only have one protective layer of metal from the oil tank and the water. Therefore, if a heavy object is to hit the ship there is a high chance of an oil spill. But the new oil tankers that are being made are more efficient and protective due to the advanced technology system. Also, the shipbuilder added an additional layer to protect the tanks from leaking. (Living in the Environment / Miller G   Page.355-358 ) and (Illustrated Family Encyclopedia)Disposal of the oil tanks is just as important as the making of one. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), about 36 of the oil ship that has sunk into the sea floor can cause oil pollution and 17 of them needs the removal of fuel oil and oil. The vessels can go back to the 1800s because one of the found tank by screening, dates back to 1891. According to NOAA “Initial screening of these shipwrecks revealed 573 that could pose substantial pollution risks, based on the vessel’s age, type, and size. This includes vessels built after 1891”–NOAA. (“New NOAA report examines national oil pollution threat from shipwrecks”)Environmental IssuesOil spills come with numerous amounts of environmental issues. One of the major environmental problem oil spills create is the messing up with the biogeochemical cycles.  Biogeochemical cycles are needed to support all life on earth. The cycles include Water, Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and the sulfur cycles. Oil spills affect all of these cycles. Water cycle can be affected by the evaporation process, where the oil filled water, which is toxic rise up and rain somewhere with living things live.  This can kill animals and pollute rivers and lakes. According to gulf bp oil spill more than  114, 065 animals died from the BP oil spill. (“Effects of the Spill.”) and ( Paul Andersen )Carbon cycle can be affected by the lack of photosynthesis. Sunlight is the main source of photosynthesis and when the sun hits the water it enters the plant and created food for the plants. If something is blocking this process, in this case, oil it would stop the process and plant life will die. Also along with the plants, the organisms that depend on the plants will eventually die (it’s a food chain). Nitrogen cycle is also affected in a big way. The only way oil can affect this cycle is by adding more nitrogen into the air and eventually intoxicating the air. (Taylor Wells Oil Spill) and ( Hotel, A)Phosphorus and sulfur cycles don’t have many impacts by the oil. One of the reasons being phosphorus cycle don’t have anything to do with the atmosphere and also being a limiting factor in the world phosphorus does not get affected by oil spills. Also, sulfur is used a lot but doesn’t  get affected much by the oil spill. Finally adding toxic gases to the troposphere (the first layer ) will create air pollution and birds and animals on the ground can die.(“Water Treatment Solutions.”) and (Biogeochemical Cycles) Prevention There are many ways to prevent an oil spill from happening and reduce many of the environmental issue that happens with it. The most important things to to done is to replace all the old oil tanks with new ones. As said before, many of the old tankers that are active today don’t have much protection. They only have one layer of hull or metal cover, but the new ones have double layers hulls. This would help with the oil leaking and will make it safer for people that is working in the ship.Another way to prevent this environmental trouble, the companies that are shaping the oil must take all safety precautions. This means the tankers, which carries the oil must be washed at least 1 time in every 10 years. If not cleaned the water and the solid waste inside the tanks might rust up the inside part of the tanks, leading them to leak. (Morse) and  (Chakraborty)Finally we as people can reduce oil spills just by our daily actions of buying things. Reducing the use of fossil fuels can stop the process of extraction ancient oil and also oil spills. Just by taking public transportation and using your lights meaningfully can save you a lot of money and also save a lot of the environment. If the production of the oil decreases the amount of oil spills decrease. (“Your Choices Can Help Prevent Oil Spills.”) and (“5 Ways to Conserve Fossil Fuels”)