Sunday, August 07, 2005

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Oil Pollution

When it comes to mixing oil and water, oceans suffer from far more than an occasional devastating spill. Disasters make headlines, but hundreds of millions of gallons of oil quietly end up in the seas every year, mostly from non-accidental sources.

Down the Drain: 363 Million Gallons

Used engine oil can end up in waterways. An average oil change uses five quarts; one change can contaminate a million gallons of fresh water. Much oil in runoff from land and municipal and industrial wastes end up in the oceans. Every year oil road runoff from a city of 5 million could contain as much oil as one large tanker spill.

Routine Maintenance: 137 Million Gallons

Every year, bilge cleaning and other ship operations release millions of gallons of oil into navigable waters, in thousands of discharges of just a few gallons each.

Up in Smoke: 92 Million Gallons

Air pollution, mainly from cars and industry, places hundreds of tons of hydrocarbons into the oceans each year. Particles settle, and rain washes hydrocarbons from the air into the oceans.

Natural Seeps: 62 Million Gallons

Some ocean oil "pollution" is natural. Seepage from the ocean bottom and eroding sedimentary rocks releases oil.

Big Spills: Only about 5 percent of oil production in oceans is due to major tanker accidents, but one big spill can disrupt sea and shore life for miles.

Offshore Drilling: 15 Million Gallons

Offshore oil production can cause ocean oil pollution, from spills and operational discharges.

Greenpeace works tirelessly to protect our oceans from corporate polluters. Please make a donation and help their important work.


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