Invisible Dust

London | Tuesday 26 March
Pollution level: Moderate

Invisible Dust Recommends #14 – Oil Pollution and a Potential Solution



As long as oil is pumped up from the ocean beds and used in boats and transport ships the oceans will continue to be polluted by oil. The Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the oil that sticks most in the memory of the public, it is a particularly dramatic and damaging event, where 210,000,000 gallons of oil spilled into the ocean. Its damage was plain to see and the numbers are staggering, but it is important to remember that just because this spillage (the result of a massive gas explosion) was so well documented does not mean it stands alone.

Since 2010 there have been many spillages, NOAA’s interactive map shows the global spillages around the world, these spills range in size and severity, but the coastline of America are particularly polluted. NOAAs map doesn’t even show the full picture, the Guardian article below discusses over 4000 spills in the North Sea for which oil companies are going unpunished and the Deutsche Welle refers to the constant spillages in one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.

The Guardian: Oil companies going unpunished for thousands of North Sea spills

Deutsche Welle: Repeated oil spills threaten Peru’s Amazon

In the last few months a breakthrough in oil clean up seems to be on the horizon, researchers have created a highly absorbent material with incredible efficient oil recovery, taking up to 90 x its weight and then can be reused.



 Argonne Labs the inventor of the sponge have tested it in confined saltwater tank and it is worth noting there is no mention of testing it in different weather conditions, a factor which hinders many oil cleanups. However, it is still potentially revolutionary for oil cleanups, especially in harbors and ports where oil and diesel can accumulate from boats, another way oil can enter the ocean.



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