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What Are Oil Spills and How to Prevent Them

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By Hubert Dwight

An oil spill is a common cause of "environmental pollution" happening all around the world. With the rising number of oil companies in today’s markets, there is an increased risk of oil spills. Technically, the spilling of oil causes excessive water pollution, resulting from spilled petroleum mixing with ocean water; hence an environmental issue. But do you know that there are many different kinds of oil spills?

Oil spills can happen both in water as well as on land, such as spills from oil companies, industries and factories. The oils used in chemical facilities, utility plants, and assembly lines are often prone to spilling because of a variety of safety breaches and mishaps.

No matter the origin, the spilling of oil is hazardous to the environment and to mankind as well. It is essential to figure out all the reasons for oil spilling, and to find ways to prevent and control them.

What causes oil spills?

The most common cause of oil spills are a result of human error. This happens when companies are engaging in standard activities such as oil refining, drilling into the seabed, and transporting petroleum and oil through water bodies.

Oil spills may be accidental or intentional. Accidental oil spills happen as a natural result from common handling of the substances, like offshore drilling, storage, transportation, road runoff, and routine maintenance of equipment used in these activities. On the other hand, intentional oil spills are a result of choosing to burn fuels as a source of energy, or even in the course of carrying out normal day-to-day activities such as changing car oil and it drips on the ground, or spilling gas when filling up a vehicle with fuel. If oil spills aren’t controlled immediately, they can add up and take a huge toll on nature.

How to control oil spills?

Whether it is the oil companies that take responsibility, or those within the marine or industrial operations arenas, taking the right measures to control oil spills can help stave off environmental harm and pollutions. It is first crucial for these industries to acknowledge the real reasons for the spilling of oil. No matter if you have spilled oil intentionally or accidentally, you can reverse the situation by being more forward thinking and environmentally mindful in your company's operations, as well as being more careful and diligent in your everyday activities.

Innovative technology has introduced some effective solutions for oil spills. You can adopt any of these methods to control the damage done:

  • Oil Booms:

It is considered one of the most efficient methods to clean up and control oil spills in big industries and factories. Oil booms are designed in different shapes, sizes, and types to control the unwanted spilling of oil, while maintaining a safe and healthy environment for the workers. Many oil companies have started using this measure to control such an event should it happen on their premises.

  • Foam Absorbents:

Another excellent method to control excessive spilling of oil are foam absorbents. These are materials that absorb oil through capillary action. Foam absorbents are made using both organic as well as non-organic methods.

A foam absorbent made from hydrophobic polyurethane is gaining immense popularity in various industries these days. The foam of this product fills the pores with oil by absorbing it in the polymer regions. Whether it is a small or large area, these absorbents stand out and deliver effective results.

  • Oil Skimming:

This method uses some customized tools that collect all the oil and removes it from the water surface. Oil skimming is a popular method used in the case of marine oil spills. Factories and industries rarely rely on this method for the removal of oil on the ground.

  • Heavy machinery:

Tractors, cranes, and other heavy machinery are used to aid in the oil spill containment and clean-up. However, this method has its own drawbacks. The machinery itself emits a lot of oil which is harmful to the environment.

Takeaway

Of all the oil spill control methods listed above, a foam absorbent makes a great choice. It is a natural approach that doesn’t harm the environment and furnishes effective results. You can explore a range of oil absorbents at various online and offline platforms. If you are prone to oil spills, whether as a large or small business, buy these absorbents in bulk and save yourself - and the environment - the harm.

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