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  • Have you ever tried to remove a liquid from another liquid?

  • Not so easy.

  • There's a reason they say oil and water don't mix, but neither does oil

  • and pretty much anything else.

  • Oil is a mainstay for modern post-industrial revolution society.

  • We run our engines, and heat and power our homes with it; and even with all the precautions

  • and cost involved, sometimes we accidentally spill it everywhere.

  • Most recently in Refugio State Beach on the central coast of California on May 19th, but

  • also in Yellowstone National Park, in Montana, in the Black Sea, Israel, Louisiana, Indiana,

  • Curaçao and North Dakota THRICE; and that's just in the last year and a half!

  • Cleaning up the spill is HEAVILY studied, but what about later?

  • What happens 5, 10, 50 years after a spill?

  • Is everything just hunky-dory?

  • Not at all.

  • On March 24, 1989 the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground spilling more than 11 million

  • gallons of crude oil into waters off the coast of Alaska.

  • At the time, it was the largest oil spill in US history.

  • More than 1000 miles of shoreline were covered in the toxic hydrocarbon chemical; and more

  • than 2000 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, and a quarter million seabirds died following

  • the spill.

  • The Exxon Valdez was a huge story when I was a kid, and by volume it was only eclipsed

  • by the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill by BP.

  • These two spills are affecting flora and fauna in massive numbers -- but now, years later,

  • what's happening?

  • Even after cleanup is considered "done," oil is still in the environment; for example,

  • tarballs wash up onshore months or years later.

  • Tarballs are crusty weathered balls filled with soft gooey oil -- like a toasted marshmallow

  • of death.

  • When I think of an oil spill, I picture water with a thin layer of oil on top spreading

  • for miles -- that's the first stage.

  • Eventually, the sun, wind, waves, ocean bacteria and other forces act on the oil creating the

  • tarball.

  • The sun helps evaporate the lighter components, leaving behind the heavy chemical compounds;

  • sand and tiny particles in ocean water collect in the oil, and the sun, waves and wind form

  • the oil into an emulsion.

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it looks like chocolate pudding -- and

  • is even stickier than the original spilled oil!

  • If it comes in contact with the beach, it can crack open causing new tiny oil spills.

  • Some cleanups are so severe, the top-most layer of sand is completely removed and new,

  • uncontaminated sand is brought in.

  • Scientific American wrote in 2003 that bacterial growth is "inhibited," on beaches and in Alaska

  • "toxicity remained for a decade or more".

  • Mammals and ducks ate prey contaminated with oil, and mussel beds are STILL recovering

  • -- estimated time?

  • 30 years.

  • According to the National Wildlife Foundation, turtles and dolphins are being affected by

  • oil, with turtles stranding themselves at five times the normal rate, and a new study

  • in PLOS ONE found adrenal and lung lesions caused by oil in Gulf dolphins' inhaling of

  • oil fumes when they come up for air!

  • Under the water, life is hit HARD whenever oil spills; but humans are quick to forget

  • and move on.

  • Coral in the gulf were covered in oil, and dead and dying coral was found seven miles

  • from the BP spill site.

  • A study published in Science after the Exxon Valdez spill found even a few molecules of

  • oil out of a billion -- known as parts-per-billion -- was enough to harm some animals; like salmon,

  • whose mortality rates increased for years after the spill because sensitive fish eggs

  • were contacted by tiny amounts of toxic crude oil.

  • Oil is toxic, inhalation or ingestion of, and contact with hydrocarbons is bad, but

  • the decades of cleanup and response can affect the ecosystem in so many ways.

  • The propellers of boats alone can disturb and kill wildlife!

  • Today, 26 years later, oil is STILL found on the beaches of Alaska and though some species

  • have returned to pre-spill levels some species of fish, whale and bird are not recovering

  • at all,.

  • More recently, NOAA created a model of how sea currents likely carried the BP Deepwater

  • Horizon oil along the Gulf coast and into the Caribbean and Atlantic.

  • Though years go by and the media move on, spills like these go on to affect waterways

  • for generations to come

Have you ever tried to remove a liquid from another liquid?


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B2 中高級 美國腔

石油汙染(Does Oil Spill Damage Last Forever?)

  • 11 1
    joey joey 發佈於 2021 年 04 月 16 日