What Are The Long-Term Effects Of Oil Spills?

Thursday 4th January 2024

Ellen Warren

No comments, yet!

Oil spill in a marshland

CONTENTS

Oil spills are often associated with marine incidents like oil rigs and damaged boats, but the reality is that oil spills can occur anywhere - even in your garden. Spills can come from cars, domestic oil tanks, and generators, and the long-term environmental effects make rapid action integral.

At ICE Cleaning, we offer oil spill cleaning services for various types, including a gasoline spill, a diesel spill, and a hydraulic oil spill. Our technicians utilise the latest technology to extract oil from an area, decontaminate the area, and prevent long-term environmental damage.

Read on to learn more about oil spills and their long-term effect on the environment.

Immediate ecological impact of oil spills

Within moments of an oil spill, toxic substances cover local habitats, suffocating wildlife and blocking sunlight from reaching underwater areas. Dissolved toxins also invade water columns, affecting species that live in water or underground in moist habitats.

The aftermath for ecosystems can be devastating as noxious oil fumes travel through the air, clinging to grains of sand, dirt, and grass — destroying nests and poisoning food supplies. Oil spill clean-ups can help mitigate damage, but long-term exposure will have a lasting effect.

Oil can infiltrate delicate mangroves and marshes - crucial nurseries for countless marine organisms. The result is a breakdown in these vital breeding grounds with far-reaching consequences long after the initial spill.

Long-term environmental consequences

The scars oil spills leave on the environment do not fade easily. Over time, they can transform bustling ecosystems into silent wastelands. A thriving garden suffering from the effects of an oil spill from a private tank may not recover, affecting plant life and posing a hazard to the property owner.

Ocean spills can be more devastating as the water might interact with the oil, damaging life beneath the surface. Oil attacks local species populations like seabirds and fish, killing them and lowering their numbers. This can affect the economy with less local fishing and cause sickness in locals.

Socioeconomic aftermath for affected regions

When oil spills hit, fishing and tourism are usually affected. These two industries will see profits fall when these environmental disasters strike. Fishermen find their nets empty, while tourists will avoid these areas.

The cost to clean oil spills can be expensive depending on the size, eating into public or company funds - which can build up to £30,000. Communities may also see reduced employment opportunities and higher sickness rates caused by oil exposure.

Remediation efforts and natural recovery

Natural recovery processes are fascinating, involving tiny organisms breaking down oil over time. But this is not fast enough when livelihoods and local habitats may suffer irreversible damage. 

Oil spill cleaning techniques range from deploying booms and dispersants to more creative methods, like bioremediation that utilises bacteria, algae, and fungi to break down contaminants.

However, even with our technological approaches, full recovery can be hard to achieve. The easiest way to mitigate damage is by rapidly cleaning the spill and preventing its spread. 

Oil spill cleaning companies can take over for this, using the latest technology to effectively isolate a spill and extract all contaminants from the area. By using decontamination methods, they can prevent further environmental damage and help an area heal naturally.

Impact on human health

Oil spills can also affect human health, as direct contact with oil can lead to rashes, burns, and chronic conditions. Beyond the physical risks, there are also mental health effects to consider. 

For example, in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a study showed that there was an increase in depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder in individuals whose lives were affected.

Beyond this is compromised food safety as seafood and plant life contaminated by oil will be too dangerous to eat and must be discarded. This reduces availability in local stores, lowering the amount of fruit, vegetables, and seafood for sale.

Changes in biodiversity and ecosystem dynamics

Without rapid oil remediation, the ripple effects on biodiversity can devastate and change a local ecosystem. Species crucial to their habitat start to vanish, tipping the scales of predator-prey dynamics.

On land, oil spills can harm local wildlife and insects, disrupting and changing the food chain, which can take a long time to recover.

Oil also prevents photosynthesis, causing a decrease in plant life and further damaging the ecosystem. Ground and soil oil spills can also kill vital microorganisms necessary to maintain environmental balance.

In oceans, oil spills kill and injure seabirds, sea turtles, fish, and shellfish. Oil can permanently damage the fur and feathers of self-insulating animals, exposing them to harsh sea conditions.

The food chain is affected by oil as fish and shellfish will naturally ingest oil, therefore harming predators like swordfish, sharks, and tuna.

Both land and sea life will feel the effects of oil as it can damage or change reproduction cycles and growth rates. These issues will have long-term effects without rapid remediation, and although nature can eventually tackle these effects, damage control is necessary.

Policy responses and regulatory changes

After large oil spills, governments often rewrite current guidelines and laws. They learn from past spills and enforce new policies that might emerge quickly. 

For instance, after the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, which released about 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, safety protocols expanded and changed to ensure there would never be a repeat.

In response to such environmental disasters, industry standards tighten. The European Union made immediate changes post-Deepwater with its Offshore Safety Directive, advocating for safer seas.

Sometimes changes spark global conversations that lead to international agreements because one country's spill could be another's problem down the line.

A future outlook for oil

At the end of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, a landmark deal among 200 countries sees an agreement to transition from coal, gas, and oil. This means that the fossil fuel era that dominates the energy sector will be coming to a close.

This comes after a report that reveals from February 2022 to 2023, gas and oil companies expanded their production, exceeding emission levels by 178%. This expansion puts many ecosystems at risk of oil spills, and this phase-out will be integral.

Although some oil-producing countries were combative against this, the overall agreement is still a hopeful move for the planet's future. In the meantime, technology continues to evolve, finding new ways to combat oil spills and prevent further destruction on the planet.

Frequently asked questions

What are the 5 effects of oil spills?

Oil spills can negatively impact wildlife, habitats, water quality, fisheries and local economies.

What is the environmental impact of oil spills?

Oil disrupts ecosystems, smothering marine life while polluting shores and disrupting natural balance for years.

What are the long-term effects of an oil spill?

Persistent contamination from spills leads to altered habitats, sickly wildlife populations and lasting ecological scars.

What are the 5 negative effects of the oil industry on the environment?

The industry's dark side shows habitat loss, air pollution spikes, water contamination risks and increased carbon emissions.

Get in touch

ICE Cleaning is a professional cleaning company specialising in oil spillage cleaning services. Our technicians have experience in this field and can extract oil from freshwater, soil, the ocean, the pavement, and underground.

To learn more about our oil decontamination services, you can contact our team at 0208 066 0360 and enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk. We understand the urgency of oil spillages, which is why we offer 24-hour support nationwide and same-day cleaning in emergencies. Get in touch with our team today in the event of an emergency spill.

Comment
Melissa Harrison

Melissa Harrison

Sales Representative

Add to contacts

Speak with me today,
I’m here to help

By asking you a few questions either via phone or email I can immediately provide a realistic estimation of the cost.

You’re in good company. We’ve cleaned for the following commercial clients… View all

Customer reviews

Our happy customers have rated our service as
4.9 on Google.

View All Reviews

Sue Sullivan

Star Star Star Star Star

5 months ago

Ice did a brilliant job and I would highly recommend them. Reilly in the office booked everything in and was most helpful, and then Harry came and…

Read more

Posted on Google

John Hatswell

Star Star Star Star Star

6 months ago

We had a pressing need to address concerns regarding a clean up of a Trauma site. Ice Services and Zoe were responsive, informative and professional.…

Read more

Posted on Google

Eddie Mack

Star Star Star Star Star

7 months ago

I’ve used ICE Cleaning a few times and the service has been absolutely terrific. Paul Gimenez was incredibly helpful and dealt with everything…

Read more

Posted on Google

Martha Sparkes

Star Star Star Star Star

7 months ago

Power cleaned my external brick walls and look very good. They were punctual, hard working and respectful. I would recommend them with no hesitation.

Read more

Posted on Google

Simon Nicholson

Star Star Star Star Star

7 months ago

Booked ICE Cleaning at short notice to help with the clean-up of our outdoor Event Site in Central London. Whilst they were unable to assist with our…

Read more

Posted on Google

Kim Barnes

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

From start to finish, booking in with Jess in the office to Mark and Lee turning up for app 5-star service from start to finish..Quick turnaround…

Read more

Posted on Google

Mark Treasure

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

We recently used ICE Cleaning to assist with the cleaning of communal areas and flats following a fire in a service riser. I initially spoke with…

Read more

Posted on Google

Martin Haw

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

Very prompt, polite and professional service

Read more

Posted on Google

George C

Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

Very professional and the sales team are very helpful and easy to deal with. The job was carried out quickly and professionally and the site team…

Read more

Posted on Google

Derik Matheus

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

ICE Cleaning is a great company to work with! They have been cleaning our office for two years, and we are thrilled to have them as part of our team.

Read more

Posted on Google

Dannil Sourez

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

ICE Cleaning Solutions is a serious and responsible company that takes pride in their work.

Read more

Posted on Google

Sam Hart

Star Star Star Star Star

10 months ago

Very impressed with ICE cleaning, really efficient and had good service. Dealt with my mould issue in my gym really well and couldn’t be…

Read more

Posted on Google

Luke Stockwell

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

We used ICE Cleaning at BT Sport for a Cage Warriors event in our studios. In previous years this event had caused multiple problems due to the risk…

Read more

Posted on Google

Danielle Baycanli

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

ICE cleaning cleaned the floors and carpets of our school to a very high standard. The team was friendly and efficient and we were very happy with…

Read more

Posted on Google

Emma Bryan

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

ICE cleaning completed a commercial clean for us. They were very professional, prompt, responsive and they event went back the next day to finish…

Read more

Posted on Google

Stuart Goodson

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

Zoe as the first point of contact was extremely helpful and efficient. The decontamination of toxic mercury from my mother’s garage was…

Read more

Posted on Google

Nick Barringer

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

I was dealt with very professionally from first contact through to completion. The people are pleasant and knowledgeable, the work was carried out…

Read more

Posted on Google

Jason Etherington

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

Fantastic service, the technician was very understanding and talked us through the process and was happy to answer any questions. Work was completed…

Read more

Posted on Google

Alison Bailey

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

On calling ICE following a spillage, I first came into contact with Zoe. At all times Zoe was courteous, calm and professional. I asked her to call…

Read more

Posted on Google

Elisabeth Underdown

Star Star Star Star Star

1 year ago

We came back from holiday to see a massive mould problem in 2 of our rooms. We checked around but found this company to be best priced, most…

Read more

Posted on Google
Why choose us

Why choose us?

  • Cater to a wide variety of cleaning situations
  • Nationwide coverage, available 24/7
  • Cater to commercial and domestic clients
  • Free survey provided prior to quotation 
  • Emergency response team
  • Offer a bespoke service designed to suit all your needs 
  • All technicians hold professional health and safety qualifications, including BICSc, IOSH, Dewpoint Professional & Safe Contractor 

We’re fully accredited

We place best practise, professional expertise and health and safety at the core of our business. We’re fully compliant with all legal obligations. You can view a list of our accreditations below, or visit our Health & Safety page for more information.

CSCS
BICSc
IOSH
SafeContractor
Dewpoint® Professional Corporate Membership
IPAF
NACSC
0208 066 0360Open 24/7
Close

We use cookies

If you continue without changing your settings we'll assume you're happy to receive our cookies.
If you'd like to change this just update your browser settings. Find out more.

Okay. I got it.