Developing countries like India, which have a long shoreline, and are very near shipping lanes, from major oil producing countries, must prepare themselves for any emergency of this nature. The technology and necessary equipments, personnel and agencies, finances and coordination must all be well-prepared and ready to go into action at a day’s notice, as any delay in controlling oil pollution may cause incalculable harm to the biosystem and ecocycle of the area, in addition to being a great economic loss and waste of human efforts.
Oil and other hazardous materials constitute a major pollution threat to the water resources of the world. The danger exists in both land based and water based facilities. Whether the spill is large or small, whether occasional or continuous, each source must be evaluated from three stand points-the relative hazards involved the preventive measures that should be instituted and the damage control and clean up capabilities that may be needed. Waterborne Sources:Ships as a Source of Pollution Of particular significance are the transportation by tankers and barges, of petroleum products themselves, which now account for over 40% of the total waterborne traffic in the world. Tankers have ballast water to discharge and bilges to pump. They further face the problem of tank cleanings.
Apart from the number of ships, their size has also increased manifold. In the World War II period, tankers of 16000 tonnes were common. Torrey Canyon had a capacity of 119,000 tonnes but now tankers of 312,000 tonnes are common. Larger tankers increase the hazard from any single accident. Waste Oils There is seldom any announcement of the flow of 10 or 30 or even 300 gallons of waste oil into a nearby stream or sea. Its presence is announced only by the trail of grime and damage left behind, and even this might go unnoticed if it were not repeated so often. Gasoline Service Stations Some 350, 000,00 gallons of used motor oil must be disposed of annually by more than 210,00 gasoline filling stations in this country.
Re-refining, it is not profitable; hence, it is disposed of in sewers and streams. There should be some incentive for collection and reuse of these waste oils. Tank Cleaning Facilities Most large shipyards have facilities to clean holds, ballast tanks and engineers rooms.
Some sea ports have facilities for receiving oily wastes from shipboard sources, but, generally, most ports have no such arrangement. Oily Waste Industries Almost all major industries use water and most of them have a significant amount of oil in their wastes. Untreated oily wastes, from such sources, cause a major pollution problem. Industrial Transfer and Storage:Pipelines In December 1962, a pipeline from a storage facility broke, releasing about 1,400,000 gallons of cutting oil, light mineral oil and xylene into the Minnesota river in the United States.
Similarly, a pipeline from Barauni Oil Refinery started leaking in a big way and polluted the river Ganga. The world now has many pipelines for transportation of oil. Many sections of this network are laid in and across navigable waterways and reservoir systems. There are enough spills from accidental punctures, and cracked wells, and enough leaks from corrosion, to required alertness and technical improvement. Off-Shore Drilling:Offshore oil and gas operations are being conducted in the Gulf of Mexico, the Southern California coastal waters, Bombay high and near Madras coast.
Such operations may produce pollution of the offshore waters from blowouts of the wells, dumping of oil-based drilling muds and oil-soaked cuttings, and leakages of oil, during production, storage and transportation. A pollution threat is also posed by the pipelines, laid on the ocean floor, from offshore platforms, to storage facilities.