Jun 30, 2013 Energy Talks
Everyone has seen the effects of large oil spills from tankers and what they do to our oceans and wildlife. This is definitely a problem but it does not tell the whole story of how oil pollutes our environment. Most people do not realize that motor oil from our cars, trucks, and any other vehicles is ruining our waterways. In this article I will expain how this takes place and some basic things the average person can do to help prevent the problem from getting worse.
Whenever it rains, all of the oil that leaks from our vehicles is washed a multitude of storm drains and eventually ends up in our lakes, streams and rivers. This does not mean that your vehicle has to have a major oil leak for it to contribute to this problem. All vehicles to some degree will lose some oil onto our roadways. In fact, used motor oil is our largest source of oil pollution and over 20 million gallons of oil end up in our waters every single year. Out of all of this oil, roughly only a little over 10% is from tanker spills or pipelines. The other 90% is oil from our vehicles, fuel dumping from airplanes, and oil from millions of recreational boaters.
This type of oil pollution from cars is much more widespread than people realize mainly because they do not dissolve in water like some other oils. A single pint of motor oil will spread into a slick larger than 100 yards in diameter. This oil does not just pollute our waterways but it also affects our drinking water and ultimately our health. Water treatment plants must spend millions of dollars to try to make this water safe for us to drink.
Not only is this dangerous for us but it kills an unbelievable amount of animals each year as birds, fish and other wildlike end up ingesting this oil. The main thing that we can do to help prevent this problem from getting worse is to clean up any oil spills that may happen no matter how small. This includes small oil spills in your driveway or when changing your oil. Always dispose of your used oil at a recycling facility as well. Finally, make sure that you get any oil leaks on your vehicle fixed as soon as possible. By taking these small steps you can feel good about doing your part to keep our planet clean.