The Straits Times today reported that marine system experts have warned of long term effects of the oil spill to marine life. One of them, Marine Biologist Professor Chou Loke Ming has said that chemical dispersants break oil into smaller droplets, which will sink and affect marine life in the deeper parts of the sea.
To understand chemical dispersants, visit this Huffington Post page that features a ABC news video report on the current BP spill (see second video). The dispersants had broken the oil into droplets small enough to pass through the skin of sea animals. In addition, some scientists have said that it is causing more harm than good.
Full story in tomorrow’s Straits Times.
Marine life to feel impact
SHORE and marine life will feel the impact of last Tuesday’s oil spill for some time to come, experts here have said.The disaster has also galvanised environmentalists and other members of the public, who have been volunteering their time to rescue shore creatures and document the spill.
The spill, which tipped some 2,500 tonnes of crude oil into the ocean off Changi East, has slicked creatures such as crabs at East Coast and sea snails at Changi Beach.The affected beaches – which, besides the Chek Jawa wetlands, are largely reclaimed land – have mostly been cleaned up. Their shoreline ecosystems harbour life like peanut and acorn worms, sea snails, ghost and hermit crabs, and even a patch of corals at the Tanah Merah seawall.
When oil slicks hit, they block corals from getting sunlight, cut off oxygen by coating plants and fish gills, and harbour volatile organic compounds that can poison marine life, explained marine biologist, Professor Chou Loke Ming.
If most of the oil is removed, the impact from poisons and lack of oxygen will be reduced, Prof Chou said, but spraying dispersant chemicals can break up the oil into smaller droplets which sink to the bottom and affect marine life deeper in the sea.