How Oil Spills Contaminate Ocean Life

Loose oil spills contaminate everything.  When oil first is spilled into the sea it spreads on the surface because oil and water do not mix.  Over time, the oil moves along with the current and other natural factors, e.g., winds, storms, tides, etc.   Petroleum oil spreads into every area and crevice in the immediate area of the spill.  It destroys plankton, other vegetation and oyster beds and may contaminate the ocean floor, so it also destroys the eating grounds of shell fish, shrimp, scallops, fish and other sea creatures.  As these creatures become contaminated with oil so do the larger fish and mammals that eat them. Since seabeds are destroyed the sea creatures do not mate.  Sometimes oil slicks may be spit apart due to winds and rough seas and weather and they may be spread in opposite and other areas.  After a short while birds become afflicted by the oil and almost immediately the entire sea ecosystem is contaminated and destroyed.  It takes years to rid the sea environment of an oil spill, contain and clean it and for the area to become habitable again.

The contamination of a large area of sea and shoreline is a concern also because it may take at least one full generation for the oil hazard to leave the contaminated sea environment and provide an environment for creaturesthat is clean and healthy.  The contamination of marine life also places a damper on the seafood industry, creating shortages of seafood throughout the coastline and also may negatively effect the distribution of sea creatures for the food industry throughout the nation.  The oil’s invasion of the coastling shows the extreme effect the oil has on creatures and the environment.  Oil becomes embedded in the sand, plant life, any rock formations and of course any birds, sea creatures and mammals that inhabit the shore.  The environental clean up of oil is time consuming and many of the creatures die or become ill from the oil and other contaminants.  Environmental groups attempt the cleanup which will cost in the millions and since the deed is done, many landscapes and animals will not be entirely cleaned.  Such visual destruction also results in affecting the tourist industry of various beaches and coastline.  The best way to keep the environment clean is to protect nature before any spill occurs.  Authorities still are not explaining the reason for the recent Gulf of Mexico explosions, which led to the oil spills, but prevention still is the best approach and environmentalists will hold this incident up to the light to demand that we stop drilling for oil and become more oil independent.