Oil Spills and Their Effect on the World Emma East

Drastic oil spills happen every few years and are very devastating to the environment around them. Oil spills affect the marine life, including aquatic plants and animals. The toxic oil, when released into the ocean, prevents the plants from receiving light and producing photosynthesis. This makes a limited amount of oxygen present in the ocean and there is not enough for the fish, and other animals to survive. Oil spills are not only harmful to aquatic life but harmful to human life and the economy.

The economy is largely effected by oil spills. Many companies has to close for many weeks, sometimes even months, because they sell fish and other products that rely on the ocean. But with an oil spill, all the fish are dying and they loose their value because there are carcinogens found in oil.

This graph shows how much money is lost on average during oil spills. Oil spills effect oyster, mussel, and clam harvest. Oil spills also effect the fishing industry and the money brought in by tourism.

One of the most devastating oil spills in history is the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill in 2010 in the gulf of Mexico. This killed thousand of birds and also ended the lives of 11 people. It’s not a pleasant sight to see thousands of dead fish floating at the top of the surface, and seeing birds struggle to fly.

“From 2002 to 2009, the Gulf averaged 63 dolphin deaths a year. That rose to 125 in the seven months after the spill in 2010 and 335 in all of 2011, averaging more than 200 a year since April 2010.”
This shows the animals effect by the Gulf oil spill. Many animals are killed from being coated and poisoned by the oil released into the ocean.

It is extremely hard to clean up an oil spill because the oil spreads depending on the current and tides. It is also very hard to clean up oil in the water because much of it ends up on the seafloor. After the Gulf oil spill there were 6 to 10 million gallons of oil on the bottom of the ocean that rescue crews were not able to clean up.

Birds are one of the animals most affected by oil spills, the oil sits on their feathers and they are unable to maintain their body temperatures. The oil can also affected their ability to float in the water. Birds have tiny air pockets which affect their buoyancy and how well they float.

So, why should you care? Well much of the world's wildlife is being destroyed from all these oil spills. Food is being poisoned and thousands of dollars worth of oil are being destroyed, and thousands of dollars are used to clean it up. There is no way we can stop oil spills all together, but there are ways we can help after an oil spill has occurred.

One of the methods that rescue centers use to help remove the oil form the birds feathers is to use Dawn Dishwashing soap to help to remove the oil. Rescuers spend moths trying to help the birds, and other sea animals, recover from the oil.

“Dawn definitely works the best. It very effectively removes grease but does not cause harm to the skin of the birds.” Says veterinarian Heather Nevill.

People like Nevill devote their life to cleaning the oil off the birds and helping these animals return to the wild. Together we can help the animals that are effect from these devastating oil spills.

Works Cited

Frost, Emily. "Gulf Oil Spill." Ocean Portal | Smithsonian. Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, 05 Jan. 2017. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

"How Oil Harms Animals and Plants in Marine Environments." How Oil Harms Animals and Plants in Marine Environments. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

Mayntz, Melissa. "Learn the Affect Oil Pollution Has on Birds and How You Can Help." The Spruce. N.p., 3 Oct. 2015. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

Moss, Laura. "The 13 Largest Oil Spills in History." MNN - Mother Nature Network. Mother Nature Network, 18 Apr. 2016. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

"Seafood Safety After an Oil Spill." Seafood Safety After an Oil Spill. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

Shogren, Elizabeth. "Why Dawn Is The Bird Cleaner Of Choice In Oil Spills." NPR. NPR, 22 June 2010. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

Timmcdonnell. "The BP Oil Spill Happened 5 Years Ago Today. We're Still Paying the Price." Mother Jones. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

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