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Smith 1

The Effects of Oil Spills and Methods to Subvert Them

Oil spills have significant short and long-term consequences for marine habitats; however, they can be overcome in a variety of ways: one way is to simply stop the leak and let natural microbes degrade the oil over time; another way (closely related to the first) is to use absorbents on the oil, rather than detergents, and let bio-remediation take its course. This will allow such spills to be minimized in terms of damage. Oil spills cause physical smothering of marine species; spills cause reproductive damage; spills cause physical damage; spills can cause long-term destruction of species; and some species can recover in ways other species cannot and, therefore, some species replace other ones in the local hierarchy when there is a spill. The following paper will discuss the short and long term impact and then proceed to look at two ways of overcoming the problem.

Short-Term Impact

The short term impact of an oil spill is that it leads to the physical smothering of creatures that happen to be in the marine environment – presumably because oil smothers gills and acts as a thick coat cast over plant life (Stewart, 2005). The literature does not delve in great detail vis-á-vis the precise manner in which an oil spill smothers creatures in the water. However, it appears as though the oil clogs gills, discourages

                             

               

 

 

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