Offshore drilling and production operations and spills or leaks from ships or tankers typically contribute less than 8 percent of the 706 million gallons of waste oil that enter the ocean every year. The remainder comes from routine maintenance of ships (nearly 20 percent), hydrocarbon particles from onshore air pollution (about 13 percent), and natural seepage from the seafloor (over 8 percent).
What makes oil spills in the ocean so much more harmful is that if deteriorates those organisms who make up the very essential bottom of the food chain.
Oil spills present the potential for enormous harm to deep ocean. The immediate effects of toxic and smothering oil waste may be mass mortality and contamination of fish and other food species, but long-term ecological effects may be worse. Oil waste poisons the sensitive marine and coastal organic substrate, interrupting the food chain on which fish and sea creatures depend, and on which their reproductive success is based.
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