Journal of Marine Science: Research & Development
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An oil spill is the release of liquid petroleum into the environment, especially marine areas, due to human activity, and
is a form of pollution. The Main Sources of Oil Spills includes: Accidents involving oil tankers or offshore platforms or
oil pipelines, Spills from Offshore drilling, Spills from Pipelines, Leakages from sunken, grounded or abandoned ships and so
on petroleum is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons. The oil initially floats in a layer up to several inches thick. Immediately,
more volatile components begin to separate and disperse into the atmosphere and water soluble components (called polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs) leach into the surrounding water. The warmer the ocean and air temperature, the more rapidly
these components separate by wind and water currents & spread throughout the sea in the shape of an emulsion.
These spills have direct toxic effects and may instantly kill an organism by passing through the food chain to other organisms.
The effects include blocking feeding, photosynthesis or respiration. It also does extensive damage to the marine ecosystem from
the basic foundations of phytoplankton, algae, coral and seagrass to the largest and most mobile organisms. Additionally, the
spill contaminates the tissues of organisms and plants which then pass into the food chain and affect the marine environment
from the open sea to the shore and coastal estuaries and marshes. The oil spills also cause hypothermia in marine animals. As oil
mixes with water, it forms a substance called "mousse," which sticks with feathers and fur the feathers lose their insulating ability
and the bird could die of hypothermia. Young animals like seal pups are particularly vulnerable to- wards this. Animals can be
poisoned or suffer internal damage from ingesting oil. Effects include ulcers and damage to red blood cells, kidneys, liver and to
the immune system. Oil vapors can injure to the eyes and lungs, and can be hazardous while new oil is still hitting the surface
and vapors are evaporating.
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