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A Critical appraisal of the Torrey Canyon oil spill and the Remediative Response - Coursework Example

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This paper looks at the history of oil dispersal and its effects on marine life. It addresses and the newer work being done by the scientific community and environmental groups that have led to innovative ideas for preventing- or at least lessening the impact of - oil spill disasters of the future. …
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A Critical appraisal of the Torrey Canyon oil spill and the Remediative Response
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"A Critical appraisal of the Torrey Canyon oil spill and the Remediative Response"

Download file to see previous pages dies show that many experts have been wrong to focus on dispersants as the main source of toxins involved in oil spill events, because oil itself has toxic effects that can outweigh the dangers of low-level dispersant use (Boyd et al 2001). Oil’s bioavailability to marine life is possible through four main pathways: 1) direct contact with the oil, such when birds dive through oil to catch fish 2) ingestion through eating prey covered with oil or that has recently eaten oil-contaminated food, or through preening their oil covered feathers 3) breathing in fumes or oil particulates suspended in the air, and 4) absorption, whereby toxins leach into the skin of sea creatures or the membranes of plants. Of particular concern is PAH, a highly toxic compound found in almost all oils that has a known association with cancers in both wildlife and humans. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are formed when organic compounds are not completely burned off during combustion (Srogi 1997). PAH contamination of the environment occurs through many of our everyday activities both at the personal and industrial levels, such as motor vehicle emissions, asphalt and aluminum production, oil refining, waste burning, and the combustion of fuels in ships and aircraft (Srogi 1997). When in gaseous form, PAHs enter the water system through precipitation and other atmospheric conditions. Oil leaks and municipal and industrial waste and are other sources of aquatic contamination (Srogi 1997). PAH is toxic in both fresh oil and in “weathered” or decomposed oil that has been exposed to natural atmospheric conditions over time (Neff et al 2011). Researchers have found that oil continues to leach from sedimentation under the water’s surface years after a spill. French, Banta and Swiss...
This paper stresses that experience and research are leading the science community and environmentalists in new directions in terms of oil spill responses. Microbial degradation of oil droplets is one area of research that may lead to more environmentally friendly cleanup procedures. Researchers are aware that all natural environments contain bacteria that degrade bacteria. Microbes adapt to their environment; areas with regular spills due to ship traffic have local led developed microbe populations that live off the oils. Many types of these oil-eating microbes work together to break down the diverse compounds found in crude oils and other spilled substances. Researchers have attempted to genetically engineer microbes to enhance their hydrocarbon-eating capacity in future oil spills.
This report makes a conclusion that while the U.S. maintains open-mindedness about the use of chemical dispersants, most of the world, rejects non-chemical oil removal in favor of mechanical methods. It is worth noting that the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited, which produces an annual report on accidental oil spills finds that over the past four decades there has been a decrease in the number of large oil spills. Unfortunately, we seem to have far to go in figuring out how to prevent them altogether, however, when we use experience and science to handle spill events more intelligently, we may begin to see less disastrous consequences from our response to spills in the future. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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This coursework was always my weak point. I could never complete it on time. Still, after I found this particular paper, I understood how it should be completed. So, I performed my research afterward and completed the coursework in several hours, instead of weeks as it was previously.
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