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How can an oil spill destroy a marine ecosystem - Essay Example

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How can oil spills destroy a marine ecosystem? [Author’s Name] Introduction With the development of technology our nature became heavily polluted. Oil spills represent a big problem today. The issue is especially serious for the world’s oceans as it is not easy to trace how much oil is spilt into the sea while it affects marine life greatly…
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How can an oil spill destroy a marine ecosystem
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Download file to see previous pages The problem is worth discussing; thus, the given paper will analyze the effect of oil spills on marine life (Smith, 2013). The scale of oils spills is large because besides the officially recognized sources of spills, there are additional pollutants connected with everyday humans’ activity. Much of dirt including oils is transferred to seas by means of storm drains. Natural leakage of oils also contributes to this kind of pollution. Serious harm is done to the world oceans when the large amount of oil is spilt into the sea at once. It is especially dangerous for marine life as in this case the sea does not have enough time to recover. As West puts it, “Despite massive clean-up efforts following the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, for example, a 2007 study conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that 26, 000 gallons of oil from the Exxon Valdez oil spill was still trapped in the sand along the Alaska shoreline” (West, n.d.). When oil appears in the sea, some of volatiles are evaporated at once, while the oil forms a pellicle that swims in the water and can sweep large areas. Certainly, marine animals and fish, which appear near this pellicle, can be impacted negatively. First of all, the species, which live in the water and consume vegetation, can suffer because oil impedes the oxygen entering and prevents water exchange that causes the death of vegetation consumed by fish and marine animals. This leads to death from starvation (Smith, 2013). Animals and birds, which appear in the oil film, smudge with oil, and since oil coating cannot be easily eliminated, they can die from loosing the water resistance of their coats. Flying birds can also be smudged that prevents them from normal flying. “Some animals are more vulnerable to oil than others. For example, young may be less able to deal with either coatings or exposure to toxic substances than adults due to their size, underdeveloped immune systems and behaviors. Marine mammals, seabirds (especially penguins) and sea turtles are all particularly vulnerable to oil on surface waters as they spend considerable amounts of time on the surface feeding, breathing and resting” (“Effects of oil on marine life,” n.d.). Oysters and mussels can be also smudged with oil that kills the animals, which consume them. What is more awful is that these species can appear on our table. Such cases have been already met: some people complained that marine products tasted oily. Thus, not only animals, but also people are in risk to consume marine products smudged in oil. Gulping oil is also dangerous for marine species and can lead to long term consequences including the violation of reproductive function, ability to grow, etc. “Fish and shellfish may not be exposed immediately, but can come into contact with oil if it is in the water column. When exposed to oil, adult fish may experience reduced growth, enlarged livers, changes in heart and respiration rates, fin erosion, and reproduction impairment. Oil also has effects on eggs and larval survival” (“Oil spills can be ...,” n.d.). Thus, it is clear that oil spilt in the water causes more series damage than oil spilt on land as it is not easy to trace it, and also it can cover large areas due to oil film formation. Animals and birds which ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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