Pros and Cons of Oil Spill Dispersants

Oil spills cause a lot of harm to the underwater communities affected by the oil. The utilization of oil spill dispersants is sometimes controversial because of misunderstanding about the principle of dispersing oil and the lack of knowledge of the limitations of alternatives response techniques. These dispersants are the chemical products especially designed for marine clean up. They are exclusively developed to deal with problems associated with marine related oil spills and the professional clean-up operations that follow the spill. The advanced marine technology has made it easy to tackle the marine oil spill problems with the help of advanced oil spill dispersants.

The main purpose of oil spill dispersants is to remove the spilled oil from the surface of the sea and transfer it into the water column where it is rapidly diluted to below harmful concentrations and is then degraded. The dispersants reduces the damage caused by floating oil to some resources like the sea birds, and minimizes the damage that could be done to susceptible coastline by spraying the dispersants on the oil before it reaches the shore. However, the use of the dispersants has the potential to present a small risk of temporary and local exposure to dispersed oil for some marine organisms.

The oil spill dispersants do not function to remove oil from the water. Instead, they break down great oil areas into much lesser pieces that make it simpler for all the sea creatures to deal with it. The down side is that dispersants also facilitates the spreading of the spilled oil more extensively into the atmosphere. While the center of everyone’s attention is to do everything possible to prevent the oil from reaching the shoreline, often it is often overlooked that there is a large effect on sea floor organisms caused by the oil. These days, robots are being used undersea to spray the oil-spill dispersants directly on the oil since it spreads on the ocean floor.

Using oil-spill dispersants is a controversial topic, as many people feel that they add to the harms caused by the pollution. However, there are other groups of people who support its use because it is the most quick and effectual means of reducing the harm that is likely to be caused by the spill. All the evidence that has been gathered during thirty years of research indicates that there is only small risk to marine life when the dispersants are used, when compared to the direct effects of the spill. It has been scientifically proven that the utilization of dispersants can be an effective oil-spill response method and there is little likelihood of oil-spill dispersants causing negative effects unless they are used in shallow water or very close to particularly sensitive species.

Even in cases when oil spill dispersants might cause negative effects, the positive benefit obtained by their use might outweigh this to produce a Net Environmental Benefit. Nevertheless, any use of dispersants must be carefully planned and explained to all those who might be affected by an oil spill.

Source by Ruth Caldon

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