Learning Outcomes (Unit 8)
During this week we have been introduced to our final report. We were given a task to write a literature review about the use of Chemical Dispersants in oil spill treatment from environmental and technical perspectives. I found this task very interesting. There are different opinions about this method.
What are chemical dispersants?
Dispersants are special chemical substances that break down the film of oil, and do not allow it to spread further (Harrison 2001:36-41).
This is how dispersants work:
Analysis of the Use of Chemical Dispersants in Oil Spill Treatment
In cases where the oil slick is moving, due to currents, wind or other factors, to areas where it will have a large impact on the environment, companies have to use dispersants (Harrison 2001:36-41).
The dispersants are used to fight oil spills and limit negative consequences for the marine and coastal life. By themselves, they are toxic, but quickly dissolved in the sea. According to Flaherty (1989: 257-259) the active component of these toxic chemical dispersants are neurotoxin toxic chemicals, highly dangerous for humans and aquatic flora and fauna. These chemicals can cause cancer, affect internal organs such as the liver and kidney (Digges 2015). Moreover, scientists believe that some of the most common dispersants are more toxic than the oil. Marine toxicologists claim that some dispersants contain chemicals that cause internal bleeding and affect the growth and mortality of marine life forms (Flaherty 989: 257-259).
Despite these disadvantages, dispersants continue to play an important role in the removal of oil from the surface of the ocean or sea (Harrison 2001:36-41). Dissolving the oil slick into smaller particles, in some cases it is possible to improve the process of microbial decay (Harrison 2001:36-41). However, the plants and animals that would not have been in contact with the oil are forced to cope with it (Centre for Biological Diversity 2010).