The issues of oil spills – an overview and questions to ponder

Oil rig - offshore drillingRight now, somewhere on this planet, an oil spill is occurring. You may not have heard or read about it (yet) but it’s happening – with oil either gushing or seeping unfettered across some waterway or landscape.

There are a myriad of issues involved with oil spills. Unless you have a strong background in this industry – and perhaps even then – you likely won’t know or comprehend many of them. This thorny subject is the focus of an excellent article published today by Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN). Its author  Jyllian Kemsley outlines both the broad strokes and daunting specifics that face scientists and the oil industry in dealing effectively with oil spills around the world.

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Let’s use explosives and bombs to keep whales out of oil spills

whalesThis story hit the headlines today and had this writer’s jaw drop. It surely falls under the heading of “What the heck are are they thinking!!”

In today’s The Globe and Mail:

“The proponents of two controversial pipelines to British Columbia’s coast say they would consider deploying underwater firecrackers, helicopters and clanging pipes, among other methods, to ensure whales don’t swim toward any disastrous oil spill that might result from increased tanker traffic carrying bitumen to Asia.”

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The number of oil spills keeps increasing

Gulf oil spill 2010Oil spills make the news on a regular basis. Are we so used to hearing, seeing and/or reading about them that we take them for granted as a way of life? We humans can get used to anything if we have to, but are we becoming desensitized to this growing environmental disaster? Continue reading

Will the oil spills stop before we kill all the wild (and marine) life?

BP's latest oil spill hits Lake Michigan

BP’s latest oil spill hits Lake Michigan

It seems we hear about a new oil spill every week – sometimes more. And the pictures have become hauntingly familiar.

One of the newest spills featured in the news was caused by our environmental nemesis BP, of Deepwater Horizon fame. From one frying pan into the next.

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Oil Hair Mats – An Environmentally-Friendly Way to Manage Oil Spills

Oil hair mats are used to clean up Ocean Beach, CA

Oil hair mats are used to clean up an oil spill at Ocean Beach, CA

Oil spills create serious environmental trouble for marine life.

2008 saw approximately 2,600 oil spills around the world, the majority from leaky pipelines, overturned oil trucks and harbor spills, along with illegal dumping and tankers colliding or running aground. 363 million gallons of oil (almost half the total oil spilled) came from used motor oil spills, much of which makes its way through our rivers and oceans.

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