How Do You Clean Up an Oil Spill?
Shell has had an oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. We can compare it to BP, but the magnitude is much different. Cleanup strategies could be different too.
A recent oil spill by the company Shell released over 88,000 gallons of crude oil about 100 miles off the coast of Louisiana. While Shell says that the source of the oil was contained relatively quickly, cleaning up the mess could takes weeks or months.
The incident might raise the specter of BP’s rig accident in 2010 which killed 11 workers and also released lots of oil. However, the magnitude is quite different in comparing the two, since the BP spill led to 87 days of oil being let out into the ocean. The federal government estimated the total oil release to be around 4.2 million barrels in that situation.
Still, the Shell oil spill might be harmful to the environment. Crude oil is harmful to many forms of fish and wildlife, because “its chemical constituents are poisonous.” Contact via the skin and eyes, inhalation, or ingestion, can cause serious issues for animals. And some birds and other mammals have difficulty regulating their internal temperature if they become coated in oil. It’s no wonder that the company is moving quickly on the cleanup process.
Shell is employing skimmers, tools that will attempt to collect the oil that has settled on the ocean’s surface, to start the cleanup process. However, a variety of environmental groups are upset about the fact that the incident happened at all, arguing for alternatives to offshore drilling. The controversy begs the question — how hard is it to clean up an oil spill and what exactly does that entail?
Well, interestingly, the process of cleaning up an oil spill depends on what kind of oil was spilled and where it spilled in the first place. In some situations, such as when the oil is not in danger of polluting coastal land, it can be best to let sunlight, wind, and the water disperse the oil on their own. Skimmers, such as what Shell has employed are another solution. Companies also use dispersants to get the oil to break up and biodegrade faster, or biological agents that convert the oil to less harmful states.
Header Image: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / Stringer (Getty Images)
- Human beings are psychologically hardwired to fear differences
- Several recent studies show evidence that digital spaces exacerbate the psychology which contributes to tribalism
- Shared experiences of awe, such as space travel, or even simple shared meals, have surprising effectives for uniting opposing groups
How to talk to kids responsibly about drugs.
- The majority of kids are going to experiment with drugs at some point in their lives, mostly in their teens and early 20s.
- While many parents might balk at allowing their children to experiment, it's important to remember that not all drugs are the same.
- There are some warning signs,, however. Neuroscience journalist Maia Szalavitz walks us through some of the signs to look out for.
There are many ways to posit the fundamental nature of reality.
- After thousands of years, and an infinite amount of novel experiences, there are today many dueling schools of philosophical thought.
- A great philosophical background takes into account a number of metaphysical positions and ideas.
- These 10 philosophy books all take on the questions of existence in a unique and varied manner.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is updated for the 21st century in a new study.
- Maslow's famous "Hierarchy of Needs" describes different levels of human motivation.
- A new study updates the hierarchy through modern methods.
- The research shows that self-actualized people share 10 specific traits.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.