An oil spill is a form of pollution that occurs when a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon gets released into the sea. It is often referred to as marine oil spills where oil is discharged into the ocean or coastal waters. Due to this reason, the environment severely gets affected as oil does not blend into the water and floats on the surface. It takes very little time to spread out into very thin layer across the ocean. This thin layer is termed as slick which gets expanded more until the oil layer becomes extremely thinner, generally less than 0.01 mm thick. Then it is called sheen.
If we look into the repercussions that happen due to oil spills we will get terrifying results. Perhaps the most visible effect of this can be seen on the coastline areas. As oil is a thick element it sticks to everything it comes in contact with. Every rock, soil, sand, grass, every tiny habitat gets damaged by the thick oil substance. Marine mammals and sea birds are also affected in similar ways. Oil covers the fur of seals and sea otters which reduces their insulation abilities. It causes a fluctuation in their body temperature thus affecting their body’s metabolism.
Unless the oil is cleaned up it stays on shore till the weather condition and time break it down. The marine life also becomes affected in a number of different ways. It disrupts the reproduction system of marine animals, fish and every living creature beneath the sea. As the water plants die due to the spill, it becomes a struggle to survive for them. Coating of oil on sea animals can slowly kill them.
In general, coastal areas are nurseries for fish and sea mammals. When they get contaminated it not only creates an unsightly view, but also becomes dangerous for wild life. As the fauna populations decreases it negatively influences the food chain in the ecosystem.
These are just a few of the ways oil spill affect the environment and with each spill the situation worsens. This is because it can take years for an affect area to recover from a small spill. Thus a massive spill will likely leave an area that will not recover for maybe hundreds of years.