Friday, November 22, 2019
Science and politics Term Paper Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 2000 words
Science and politics - Term Paper Example Undeniably, world leaders and industry managers still very much depend on oil for their major industries. In the end, oil is hardly something they can do away with; and the oil companies know this. For which reason, most oil companies and other interest groups contend that government authorities must oversee and must be involved in cleaning up oil spills. They further contend that the government also has a responsibility to the environment to assist in the clean-up and to use its resources in order to speed up these clean-up processes. However, most taxpayers disagree with this argument. They believe that the oil companies alone should bear the cost and responsibility of cleanup and that taxpayerÃ¢â¬â¢s money should not be spent in order to clear-out these oil spills. This is an issue which has yet to be resolved. In an attempt to establish some resolution to this issue, this paper shall research materials which support the argument that, the government must oversee and be involved in the cleanup of oil spills. Discussion As soon as oil spills into the ocean, it first spreads on the waterÃ¢â¬â¢s surface and the speed and the density by which is spreads depends also on the density and composition of the oil spilled (Water Encyclopedia, 2011). The oil spilled may be cohesive or it may break up depending on the movement of the water. Rougher water movements tend to break the oil slick and cause it to cover a larger territory of ocean, including coastal areas, and some marine and terrestrial habitats (Water Encyclopedia, 2011). Oil containing volatile organic compounds partially evaporates and it leaves about 20 % or 40% of the mass denser and more resistant to flow. A small amount of oil dissolves in water and it can then disperse undetected or form a thick mousse with the water (Water Encyclopedia, 2011). A portion of the oil may then sink with particulates and the rest may congeal into sticky tar balls. Eventually, oil waste deteriorates and breaks down thro ugh photolysis and biodegradation. Once oil reaches shorelines, it then interacts with the beach sand, rocks, gravel, and vegetation. It causes contamination and erosion of these shorelines and sediments (Water Encyclopedia, 2011). Once the beach sand becomes contaminated, it is then unable to protect and support normal vegetation in the shorelines. Rocks with oil residues can also be toxic to coastal wildlife as it can poison the coastline and organic substrates, thereby interrupting the food chain upon which fishes and coastal creatures depend and upon which their reproduction is based (Water Encyclopedia, 2011). Wildlife and other sea creatures, as well as mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds can also be poisoned by oil residues. In fact, the Exxon Valdez oil spill caused the death of an estimated number of 100,000 to 300,000 birds in the area of Prince William Sound Alaska (Piatt, et.al., 1990). Mere ingestion of oil can be poisonous to animals; it can smother these creature s and destroy their thermal insulation (Wells, Butler, and Hughes, 1995). Oil can also damage their reproductive systems and disrupt the pattern of their usual behaviors. In the long-term setting, such damage can cause such species and populations to change or to totally disappear. Even when oil spills have Ã¢â¬Å"dissipatedÃ¢â¬ over miles of ocean and coastlines, their impact on the environment often remains.