Free «Oil Spill Variables» Essay Sample

It is a widely-accepted fact that oil spills have a tremendous negative effect in the environment, both in the long-term and short-term range. Manju Mohan, author of the article entitled “Risk Analysis for Oil Spillage in Marine Environment” discusses the necessity of determining the impact of the environmental damage that a certain oil spill can cause in order to assess the measures needed to resolve it. Mohan provides a data of major oil spillage in India with significantly lesser impact than other similarly major oil spillages in other places. This means that if two similarly large oil spillages occur with significant differences in the magnitude of the damages they caused, there have to be factors that determine why one can cause lesser damage than the other. This is the argument of Mohan's article published under the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences in the Indian institute of Technology.

The are several factors in an oil spill that spells the amount of environmental damage it causes. The main objective of the article is to promote the risk analysis method that quantifies the possibilities of accidental as well as chronic oil releases from different segments of offshore operations and to calculate the possible consequences of such spillages (Mohan n.d., pp.171-173). For example, oil spills in a rocky coastline have lesser damage to the ecosystem due to natural dispersion and evaporation, while oils spills in sheltered coastlines can have damaging effects that could last for years due to oil retention in beach sediments (Mohan n.d., 173). The effects could range from various biological effects among phytoplankton species, to the severe effects of shallow water oil spills to benthos, to the large mortality for aquatic birds, and to the extreme dangers to human health (Mohan n.d., pp.173-174). With these dangers, it is necessary to develop methods that would at least decrease the environmental detriment that oil spills can cause.

While an accidental oil spillage cannot be avoided, ways to contain it is of utmost importance. Mohan states that oil slick is controlled by various methods, and each method has its own advantages and limitations when it comes to its ability in lessening the damages done to the environment. For example, mechanical methods are effective in thick oil slicks, but has limitations due to things like underflow caused by current or waves splash (Mohan n.d., p.174). This is the major purpose of the risk analysis method --- to determine the best action for specific situations. One can imagine the horrors of oil spilled in very large quantities and attempts to contain it fail immensely due to failure of using the best method of intervention. Oil can spread rapidly on water, and some have combustible compositions. Time is of the essence, because the oil spreads continuously until it reaches its spreading limit, where it begins to break into large patches due to surface turbulence and wave action. When this happens, these oil patches drift apart and create a polluted area that is very much greater than the coherent oil slick (Mohan n.d., p.180).

In conclusion, the article provides useful data on the more scientific angle of controlling oil spills. Normally, when talk about failure in oil spill control occurs, people tend to be angry and critical of those involved. This piece of article provides crucial information not only to the detrimental effects of oil spills, but also of the possible ways to resolve it more effectively. While it is true that accidents cannot be avoided, measures toward effective resolution can spell the difference between large-scale impact and minimal damages


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