Posted: October 17th, 2013
Education and Effort to the Rescue/ Energy Solutions from the Ocean
Education and Effort to the Rescue
The operation of oil and gas mining has been in existence since the 18th century. Oil and gas have contributed greatly to most of the Europe’s and America’s economies, the magnitude of this kind of extractive trade has gone unnoticed by the government and non-governmental organizations. Oil spills are one kind of natural disasters that have greatly influenced the ecosystem within the oceans. The contribution of these two forms of natural resources towards the destruction of the ocean life is very big.
Oil extraction from the ocean has caused great destruction to marine flora and fauna over the periods of years when oil spills occur in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. These three major water bodies serve close to three quarters of the world with food and sources of income. In this analysis, the close investigation into a major oil spill in the recent times can suffice to address the level of impact that oil spills can have on the environment. The Gulf War oil spillage that occurred in 1991 occurred due to the Gulf War. The oils pill originated from the Sea Island port in Iraq and spewed into the Persian Gulf. The volumes of oil that spilled into the water body were estimated to be 1.3 million cubic meters of crude oil. The oil slick covered a distance of about 100 miles and caused untold deaths to the marine life in the Saudi Coast (Healey, 2004).
Various methods have been proposed on how best to avoid oils spillages. None of them has effectively worked in ensuring such pollution cannot be repeated. The best way would be to institute an offshore oil-spill response program within the ministries. Most oil spills occur because of the ignorance in handling such disasters, the lack of resources to manage the pollution and the lack of knowledge and skills on how to mitigate these instances. Offshore oils spill prevention will ensure that technical skills are expended onto capable individuals on the best ways to reduce oil spills into the environment and limiting their effects if they happen.
The oil-spill prevention agenda can be two fold. One phase should include the introduction of oil spill management as a course at the higher levels of learning particularly the high schools, colleges and universities. The academic stakeholders should deliberate on the content of the course in order to introduce the concept of future professionals who are able to save the environment from such disasters like oil spills. At the tertiary levels, the education institution should provide detailed modules for students in order to cover all aspects of oil extraction, logistics and handling oil disasters (Garrison, 1995). Such students can be in a position to address the county’s oil pollution problems from a learned point of view.
The second phase is perhaps more complex. It involves the integration of these proposals into the policy system of the government. The best way to ensure that the oceans and other water bodies are conserved is by passing and implementing policy reforms that will streamline the different actors in ocean activity. Policy needs to be drafted on the regulation of extraction activities especially deep-sea oil extraction. Many drilling companies have no regulations that control how they treat their wastes and so they easily dispose it in the sea itself. Other policies that will be important include controls on the amount of natural resources to be extracted, the preservation of ocean life and the safe disposal of hazardous wastes.
Energy Solutions from the Ocean
The Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) is the world’s largest solar project that is situated in Mojave Desert in California. It consists of a combination of nine solar plants that produce about 354 MW of electricity. The basic system includes over 900,000 mirrors placed strategically to receive the sun’s rays and convert them into energy. Critics have cited that the development of solar energy may lead to the frenzied exploitation of minerals vital in the manufacture of solar panels. The mineral, silicon is cited as being the next mineral that might cause an increase in land pollution through intensive mining resulting in land degradation. Cadmium is another toxic mineral that is used in the production of solar panels. The disposal of the solar panels may cause more environmental pollution.
Benefits of Solar energy
One of the benefits of the SEGS plant is that it produces solar power that is a renewable source of energy. The sun never fails to come out making it highly consistent and constant as an energy source. The other benefit of solar power is that it is pollution free. Solar power does not have any wastes or residual material that would require disposal. This cannot be compared to petroleum energy that pollutes the air, water and noise. Finally, it is relatively cheap and simple to maintain the solar energy equipment. The installation of solar equipment is relatively easy and it requires little maintenance after that (Armentrout & Armentrout, 2009).
Effects of solar energy
First, solar energy has reduced the level of pollution in the world. Before the innovation and usage of renewable energy sources, petroleum and coal were the main energy sources. The intensive usage of oil in all machinery for production in factories and in combustion engines of vehicles contributed to about 60% of the overall pollution. The drastic climatic changes that were accompanied with weather changes that disrupted the normal trend of seasons were some of the results of pollution. Solar power has been discovered to have very little or no residual waste making it a pollution-free source of energy that conserves the environment’s natural resources.
The production of solar power is a relatively cheap process in the end. The existence of oil deposits within particular countries made access to petroleum very costly and difficult. However, solar energy is present in almost all locations of the earth making it abundant. This has helped in lowering the cost of manufacturing and conducting other economic activities that utilize power. Apart from the installation costs, solar power is free to be accessed by any individual organization, individual or group. In the long term, solar power systems will serve for a long period before it needs replacement or servicing (Pyers, 2012).
Armentrout, D., & Armentrout, P. (2009). Solar energy. Vero Beach, Fla: Rourke Pub.
Garrison, T. (1995). Essentials of oceanography. Belmont: Wadsworth Pub. Co.
Healey, J. (2004). Ocean conservation. Thirroul, N.S.W: Spinney Press.
Pyers, G. (2012). Biodiversity of oceans and seas. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark.
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