Oil Spill Problem

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Oil is a chemical mixture that is characterized as a neutral, non polar alkane, that is made up of carbon and hydrogen. Its main use at this time is being a fossil fuel. Over the man years this has hurt the earth in many different ways. This amazing substance which has furthered many technologies has also caused many problems. The greenhouse has been affected by petroleum and is a rather lengthy issue to explain, it also destroys our oceans ad all the creatures that our living within. The demand for oil will only rise as humans demand more cars or anything that runs off this fine chemical, with this brings up more ways it could be spilled into our oceans, Causing us to come up with new and better ways to clean up this messy accident.

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“Oil Spill Problem”

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The amount of oil being thrown into our oceans is sickening. Each year, “Exactly 210 million gallons of oil is spilled into our oceans. According to the NRC”(Swain,2011). This amount is increasing yearly and pretty soon will become too much to control in our oceans. Where might this oil be coming from? The amount of petroleum in our oceans is about 30 million gallons a year. 85% of that petroleum comes from trucks and cars and other human run off. Where as the last 15% comes from the actual oil rigs in our oceans(Swain, 2011). The oil run offs and major oil spills can result is massive issues. In 2010 there was a huge explosion on an oil rig just 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana. What started off as a slow leak eventually turned into 2.27 million gallons of oil being leaked per day.

All of this oil must be cleaned up one way or another. Oil is just another word for petroleum. Petroleum is a liquid that can be found all over the earth. This petroleum is made up of hydrogen and carbon atoms. These oils can all be placed into their according classes based of their characteristics. There are class A oils and then there are Class C oils. Class A oils can also be called crude oils, which are lighter forms of Petroleum (oil). Class C oils are much denser forms of oil. When Oil is spilled into water it stays at the surface of the water. Instead of sinking lower into the ocean, the water spreads across the surface of the water. “Warm water climates speed up the rate at which the oil could evaporate off the surface. Up to 40% can be evaporated”(Wilmoth Lerner, 2011). The oil on the surface of the water can restrict the amount of oxygen that is needed for deeper forms of life. If the oxygen cannot reach down far enough to these other lifeforms, then they will suffocate from lack of oxygen in the water. Oil, water, and oxygen when mixed together can cause tar balls. These tar balls sink to the oceans floor and can deteriorate many of the different living things at the bottom of the ocean. These tar balls can also end up washing up on beaches sometimes even months after the incident has happened. Surface tension is another important factor when you are wanting to limit the spread of oil on the surface of the water. “Surface tension is the attraction of surface molecules of a liquid”(Swain, 2011). If the oil has a high surface tension then the oil is less likely to moves. And if the surface tension is low it will likely move around. The warmer the water the higher the chances are that the oil will start to spread more rapidly. The cold water causes the oil to slow down when it tries to move around. Just like a human would act in freezing water temperatures. When it comes down to actually cleaning out the oil in the water professionals use something close to a dishwasher detergent that are capable of actually breaking up the chemical compound of oil. The detergents wrap themselves around the oil and break them up. “The polar nature of the dispersants allows them to surround and coat small droplets of oil”(swain, 2011). This proves the point of them pretty much surrounding the small drop of oil and then breaking it down in order for it to sink to the bottom of the ocean and then dissolved, leaving the ocean clean and for the most part, oil free.

A product that is used to clean up the oil spills and the oil that some animals have contracted is the commonly known dish soap, Dawn. “Soaps are water-soluble sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids. Soaps are made from fats and oils, or their fatty acids, by treating them chemically with a strong alkali”(American Cleaning Institue,2019). The contents of these dish soaps are normally the same. The ingredients used in these soaps contain chemicals like sulfur trioxide, sulfuric acid, and ethelyne oxide. These three different chemicals hold traits that are related to disolving other

Oil Spills are not only harmful to the many different forms of species that are living under the water, but can also affect many people living close to the shoreline. Crude oil is a brownish black liquid that contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that in the past have deminished a persons current health state. “OVCs include benzene, a carcinogen, and poly cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PACs), which are toxic to the central nervous system”(Wilmoth Lerner,2011). These are all present in every particle of oil and is just floating around in our oceans and rivers. These toxins can reach their way into our usage of water in our everyday lives. Volatile Organic compounds are evaporated very easily out of the water, but can still be carried off by winds into human populated areas close to where the oil was originally located. Not to mention once in the air it can destroy many other things in the air and turns into everyday pollution. Occassionally, the chemicals used to destroy the oils can sometimes mix poorly with the oils causing for a much more harming substance. “when combined with the oil, can potentiate some of the toxic effects of crude oil alone”(Wilmoth Lerner, 2011). This suports the statement that when they are mixed together they can separate into smaller and much worse particles. The human body can contract a bodily issue from these differnet oils if the oil touches the skin or if someone ingests the oil. Whether the oil somehow got into their water or onto their foods.

Many novels have even been published about the intense situation involving the oil spill crisis. The story, Getting the Gunk Out, By Shannon Kadlovski, is a story talking about how the oil spills will affect everyday life. These books are a good source of primary experiences of people who have dealt with these issues first hand.

Many of these big oil companies are now facing massive lawsuits for their oil rigs leaking into our oceans and causing humans to pay the price with the time and money they put into clean the oceans up. Not only are the oil rigs an issue, but the massive shipping boats the cross the seas to transport everyday goods. On April 12, 2018, a Singapore based cargo ship was docking in the port of the missisiipi river when it began to spill all of its main fuel into the river. It ended up spilling 2,000 gallons of gas into the harbor. “The puncture resulted in a spill of about 2,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil into the Mississippi River'(New Orleans City Bussiness, 2019). This resulted in money spent in order clean up the harbor and many man hours needed in order to sufficiently clean up the spill. The gas used on these huge cargo ships are just refined forms of oil. This is similar to the gas that are put into everyday vehicles.  

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Oil Spill Problem. (2021, Apr 05). Retrieved March 24, 2023 , from

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