An oil spill is the release of a liquid petroleum hydrocarbon or naturally extracted oil into the environment, especially marine areas, due to human activity and is a form of pollution.
- Dispersants are chemicals that when applied to oil floating on the surface greatly increases the rate of dispersal and breakdown of the oil. Dispersants assist the natural process where the mechanical action of the water can break down oil into small droplets.
- Dispersants are categorised into:
Type 1: Hydrocarbon solvent-based dispersant used undiluted
Type 2: Concentrates, diluted 1:10 with water before use
Type 3: High efficacy concentrates used undiluted
- These are chemicals used to separate oil and water. They can be used with dispersants when the type of oil prevents chemical dispersion.
- Surface cleaners are chemicals that when applied to oil covered hard surfaces increase the rate of dispersal from the surface, aiding cleaning.
- Bioremediation accelerates the natural degradation process through adding nutrients, micro-organisms, or both.
- Oil Zapping is a bio-remediation technique involving the use of ‘oil zapping’ bacteria.
- The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has developed the oil zapping bacteria.
- The Oil Zapping project was supported by the Department of Biotechnology (Government of India) and the Ministry of Science and Technology.
- There are five different bacterial strains that are immobilized and mixed with a carrier material such as powdered corncob. This mixture of five bacteria is called Oil Zapper.
- Oilzapper feeds on hydrocarbon compounds present in crude oil and the hazardous hydrocarbon waste generated by oil refineries, known as Oil Sludge and converts them into harmless CO2 and water.
- The Oilzapper is neatly packed into sterile polythene bags and sealed aseptically for safe transport. The shelf life of the product is three months at ambient temperature.
- Sorbents absorb oil and are usually in the form of powder, granules or beads.
- They are either absorbent (they take some liquid into themselves) or adsorbent (forms a layer on the surface of the oil) materials and can be synthetic or natural, packaged or loose.
- Degreasers are used for cleaning grease from machinery of ships and marine structures