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When oil leaks occur, they are a significant source of water waste. This is primarily due to the fact that they are often unforeseen, and cleaning efforts require a considerable amount of time and experience. These leaks also occur as commercial tankers transporting oil and oil goods leak oil into the ocean or some other body of water, as well as in cases of outright failures such as exploded or capsized tankers. Oil spills and their possible environmental consequences have been researched widely, and substantial progress has been made in terms of identifying preventive mechanisms and thoroughly recognizing the consequences. However, the research that has been done is yet to exhaustively tackle every possible impact due to the elusive nature of the ripple effects that occur within ecosystems and the ecology of an area. At this point, it is important to note that oil spills are often associated with water bodies but in reality, they can affect every ecosystem that oil happens to be spilled in such as terrestrial and arboreal. Although many of the impacts of oil spills have been identified in recent years, scientists are nowhere near to exhaustively dealing identifying these effects (NOAA, 2017). Additional research is needed to understand the impact of oil pollution on terrestrial ecosystems, marine ecosystems, arboreal ecosystems and fresh war ecosystems in the Tampa Bay watershed area (NOAA, 2017).
So far, the effects of oil spills have been observed in visible manifestations such as interfering with bird’s plumage, killing marine life due to lack of oxygen and killing soil microorganisms. However, there lacks deep knowledge that can be able to tell to what extent the oil affects the ecosystem and what its projected outcome could be. Scientists lack a grasp on how well these effects spread and their ultimate reach; it is often an exercise in futility. So far, research has shown that oil spills have adverse impacts on several ecosystems, they cause a disruption in the normal flow of the ecosystem and are often costly to properly clean, requiring operations that can take months to complete (Sherblom, 1993). The spills occur at various levels such as minor spills from machinery and as a result of acts of nature such as storms and hurricanes that overturn oil carrying tanks. This area has attracted plenty of attention from ecologists, environmentalists and even human rights groups. From this perspective, a large and growing body of knowledge has been assembled in a bid to understand or at least familiarize the scientific community and everyone else on the effects of oil spills. From this perspective, scholars are split on whether oil spills are catastrophic and should be cleaned or whether they are a part of the evolutionary process and should be let take their course (NOAA, 2017).
I find the argument that oil spills are dangerous to the environment convincing and compelling. As much as these spills are often natural and beyond human control, it would be irresponsible to simply sit by and watch them ravage the environment. They must be cleaned which in fact, can be said to be a part of the natural process of an organism responding to an issue (The Ocean Portal Team , n.d.).
The research in this area has helped develop the knowledge that is available to scholars, thus building on the body of knowledge available. However, I would recommend that additional research is done to fill in the gaps in this field’s research, the pertinent issue, in my opinion, being the establishment of how far the effects of oil spills are to the ecology and global ecosystem as a whole ( National Geographic Learning, 1994).
National Geographic Learning. (1994). Oil spill! (Let's-read-and-find-out science). New York: National Geographic School Pub; 1st edition.
NOAA. (2017, March 26). A major spill in Tampa Bay—21 years ago this month. Retrieved from response.restoration.noaa.gov: http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/about/media/major-spill-tampa-bay-21-years-ago-month.html
NOAA. (2017, March 26). How oil harms animals and plants in marine environments. Retrieved from response.restoration.noaa.gov: http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/oil-and-chemical-spills/oil-spills/how-oil-harms-animals-and-plants-marine-environments.html
NOAA. (2017, March 26). Oil spills. Retrieved from response.restoration.noaa.gov: http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/oil-and-chemical-spills/oil-spills
Sherblom, P. M. (1993). Analysis of water samples from the Tampa Bay area following the August 10th oil spill: Final report (MTR). Sarasota: Mote Marine Laboratory.
The Ocean Portal Team. (n.d.). Gulf oil spill. Retrieved from ocean.si.edu: http://ocean.si.edu/gulf-oil-spill
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