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Petroleum Industry's Impacts on Environment

Oct 16, 2013

Ever since Mid September, Russia has been making continuous headlines on www.reuters.com by its actions against protestors arrested at Prirazlomnaya oil platform---owned by the state-backed oil drilling company---Gazprom. Recently, they just released three Russian protestors on bail and the others were still remained behind bars. Why did these people protest though they would have predicted such an angry and uncompromising reaction from Russian govt? They were actually all from a environmental organization based in Netherland called Greenpeace. Russia’s drilling acts had engendered great concern among people about the possible environmental damages. Greenpeace protestors tried to stop them by attacking one of the platforms in its Arctic oil drilling field.

The dispute between Russia and the organization caused sensation on a large scale. Many countries disapproved Russia's reactions against the protestors, which has resulted in reputation crisis for itself worldwide.

However, the point is we need to stop scratching the surface and see through disputes to discover what warning lessons hide exactly behind.

Nature we subsist on is actually comprised by several significant ecosystems, like air, water and soil, and many tiny ones which help balance the development and growth of lives in it. They do not exist independently immune of affects from the others, but correlate with one another intimately. One damaged, the rest will not remain intact either.

Over years, oil exploration activities have brought large-scale pollution and contamination. Many types of waste are generated by oil drilling, production, stimulation, gas processing and accidental releases. Alll these hazard human life and wildlife.

Impact on Air:

Fast human development also brings along high demands for faster transportation. To meet these demands, petroleum activities are more intensified, bringing about enormous pollution. Human burn coal, oil, crude, etc almost everyday at a very rapid speed. This is releasing carbon stored in the fuel into the atmosphere and upsetting the carbon cycle. When more carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere, it will lock more heat on the Earth’s surface, raising the global temperature. This phenomenon is called global warming. Statistics show that the global temperature has risen half a degree centigrade in the last century. If the trend is not curbed, by the year of 2100, the temp will increase another 1.4-5.8 celsius degrees, causing melting of glaciers and flooding of coastal cities.

Impact on Water:

Water pollution comes primarily from petroleum industries. The many causes of that include industrial emissions, oil spills, untreated waste water, substances discharged by vessels, substances carried to the sea by rivers and so on. All those exert severe damaging effects on water ecosystem. Not only will human not be able to drink wholesome and sanitary water, but also many marine animal species will perish since, if the bottom dwelling organisms like planktons die, the rest food chain will be broken.

Impact on Soil:

Soil pollution is mainly the consequence of poor waste management. Besides, accidental blowouts and spills destroy the natural forests. The soil has lost its fertility and will be no good for trees, crops and vegetable for decades. Therefore, human will face threats of food shortage and green cover loss and wildlife extinction.

Even so, we have to admit we cannot do without petroleum penetrating into all aspects of our daily life. We use them to cook food, to fuel the vehicles, to heat our homes, to make products like medicines and plastics and so on. However, every sword has two blades, when we are benefiting from petroleum, it is also producing hazards for us. We should all stand up together against the contamination while keeping our life going on by means of technological inventions, innovations and scientific advances.