Causes of oil pollution are many. They can range from minor spills from recreational boats to serious oil spills from commercial vessels. Whatever the cause, it leads to serious marine pollution.
Large oil spills come to notice very quickly. Marine pollution authorities therefore respond quickly to clean them up. But minor oil spills that result from pumping oily bilge water overboard or from careless refueling go unnoticed even though they are a major cause of marine pollution, which harms the marine environment.
Several steps have been taken to prevent marine pollution, including laws such as the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. According to these acts, the discharge of any kind of oil in the navigable water of the United States that causes a film, sheen, discoloration, sludge, or emulsion on or beneath the surface of water is strictly prohibited and can result in stiff civic penalties.
To avoid these penalties and to prevent further oil pollution here are some preventive measures that will help in keeping the discharged bilge water clean.
• The engine of the boat should be maintained properly to avoid fuel or oil leaks. Oil filters should also be changed often.
• Floating oil, if any, should be soaked up with a sorbent material before pumping the bilge. An absorbent pad or a drip tray should also be kept under the engine.
• During bilge cleaning do not mix detergents with oily bilge water as they can prove even more toxic than the oil. Instead, use a biodegradable bilge cleaner like Oil Gone Easy Marine S-200. This bilge cleaner is environmentally friendly and will not cause marine pollution.
Following these simple preventive measures will not only result in clean bilges but will also result in a green earth.
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