Oil Spill Recovery

After a devastating oil spill has occurred the long hard clean up begins.
Here are some ways to clean up
  • Sorbents: Remove oil with absorbent sponges made from diaper-like substances. Some sorbents are made from natural materials -- straw, grasses, coconut husks, or wood chips.
  • Dispersants: These are chemicals that act like detergents to break oil up into tiny droplets to dilute the oil's effect and to provide bite-sized bits for oil-eating bacteria that occur naturally, particularly in areas that have had a history of oil spillage.
  • Burning: Burning is usually 95-98% efficient, but does cause black smoke. The smoke is not more toxic than if the oil were burned as intended in fuels. One litre of oil burned this way creates the same pollutants as three logs in a fireplace or wood stove.
  • Bioremediation: Enhancing natural biodegradation by natural oil-eating bacteria by providing them with needed fertilizers or oxygen.
  • Do nothing: Particularly in open ocean spills, cleanup is difficult and not efficient. Wave action and photo-oxidation (from the sun) helps to break oil down.

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by dkindred