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Oil Rig

An Oily Problem: Effective Ways to Clear Up Oil Spills

Oil RigOil is one of the world’s most important resources. It makes almost everything work. Without it, different industries would have not existed. In spite of its significance, oil can affect the environment in many ways if it is mismanaged. Oil spills and similar incidents only prove that a prized resource also comes with serious repercussions. Just look at what happened during the Gulf War; about 8 million barrels of oil spilt into the Persian Gulf. The debacle affected many people and wildlife. But how exactly do cleaners carry out the staggering task of clearing up the spill?

Leaving it Alone

If the spill is not that big and there are no intervening factors that will cause it to pollute coastal communities, the best solution is leaving it alone. Heat, wind and the varying temperature of the water will disperse the oil, which in turn helps it to evaporate faster.

Removing it Manually

This method is easily employed for spills that occur on land. Cleaners also use it for spills occurring in water using the same procedure. It all starts with the containment of the oil. After that, cleaners will use boomers to collect the oil. To separate oil and water, they will use skimmers. At times, they may enlist the aid of companies that offer wasted and used oil collection services.

Burning It

Whether the spill occurs on land or water, cleaners may resort to a process called in situ burning. Controlled burning starts with pushing the oil into one area and then igniting it. Cleaners implement some measures to control the smoke.

Using Biological Agents

Cleaners also use biological agents to speed up the biodegradation of the oil. This method is usually employed when the oil reaches the shoreline. The cleanup crew uses bacteria and other microorganisms to break down the oil into simpler substances. The authorities involved in the cleanup may also use conventional methods, such as sorbents or sponges and similar materials that absorb oil. It is important to note that cleaning spills may take time depending on its scope. Some even take months or years.
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