Oil Spill and Bioremediation

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which began on April 20, 2010, is the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. It is purported to be 8-31% larger than the previous largest spill, Ixtoc 1 oil spill. The US government estimated the overall discharge at 4.9 million barrels or 210 million US gallons.

Oil spills affect the soil quality, the environment as well as the local flora, fauna and human lives.

A lot of dolphins, especially infants, died in the Deepwater spill. 2200 tonnes of oily material was recovered from the beaches, and oil was recovered from waters off the Florida Panhandle and Tampa Bay, where scientists said oil is embedded in the sand.

The infant dolphins were killed at six times the normal rate because of the spill. Tuna and amberjack exposed to the oil developed fatal deformities of the heart and other organs. Studies said that cardiotoxicity may be prevalent in animals affected by the spill.

Between May and June, the water bodies in the areas affected by the spill contained 40 times more polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons then before, especially near the Louisiana coast, and Alabama, Florida, and Mississipi. These hydrocarbons contain carcinogens that pose health risks to humans and marine life. Studies prove that toxins from oil spills can lead to irregular heart beats and cardiac arrest.

The approach towards addressing the spill was- containment, dispersal and removal, in a process costing nearly 14 billion dollars. The use of dispersants like Corexin is problematic, because it is carcinogenic and harms aquatic animals and humans. It is in fact said to increase toxicity of the spill.

Bioremediation- the use of microorganisms to address oils spills, is a method slowly gaining popularity. It is an economical and safe method, which utilizes microbes to address oil spills. What happens is these microbes digest the oil and turn them into harmless byproducts like carbon dioxide, methane and fatty acids. Bioremediation is organic and efficient, and eco-friendly.

One such product made of these oil digesting microbes is Bioclean FOG by Organica Biotech. For details visit here: http://www.organicabiotech.com/waste-water-treatment/fog-bioremediation/

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