Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Scientists Reduce The Impact Of Oil Spills

New Zealand scientists are figuring out the best way to clean up after an oil spill.

Research led by Leigh Stevens of the Cawthron Institute has been looking at how chemical dispersants can be used to reduce the impact of oil spills.

“Science may not be able to stop oil spills, but it can ensure a better response when spills occur,” said Mr Stevens.

“The best way to reduce the impact of an oil spill is to stop the oil reaching the shore. One way of doing this is to use physical barriers known as booms to contain or deflect oil so it can be collected.

“However it is not always easy to get the right equipment and trained staff to spill sites. Weather conditions can also limit the effectiveness of using physical barriers. Even under ideal conditions, it is uncommon for physical methods to recover more than 10 to 20 per cent of spilt oil,” said Mr Stevens.

The research, which is an investment of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, has looked at using alternatives to physical methods such as chemicals which disperse and dilute the oil into the sea.

“As chemical dispersants can be quickly applied to large areas of spilt oil they often provide the quickest, most effective and most environmentally friendly response option,” said Mr Stevens.

“With any use of chemicals, there is a natural concern that they may cause additional harm to the environment. Modern oil spill dispersants have very low toxicity, most are less toxic than household dishwashing detergents.

“Almost without exception the environment will recover more quickly if oil can be dispersed into the sea before it reaches a shoreline.”

The researchers have been working closely with the Maritime Safety Authority to produce guidelines to help people dealing with an oil spill decide whether or not chemical dispersants should be used.

“Our research does not provide hard and fast rules for using chemical dispersants, as every spill will be unique. What they do provide is a comprehensive checklist of the issues that need to be considered,” said Mr Stevens.

“The guidelines represent a significant advance in the information readily available to decision-makers and greatly improve the ability to respond appropriately to oil spills in New Zealand marine waters.”

The guidelines have been formally adopted by the Maritime Safety Authority and will soon be made available to all Regional Councils, they are also attracting interest from a number of international spill response organisations.

Ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Onetai Station: Overseas Investment Office Puts Ceol & Muir On Notice

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has issued a formal warning to Ceol & Muir and its owners, Argentinian brothers Rafael and Federico Grozovsky, for failing to provide complete and accurate information when they applied to buy Onetai Station in 2013. More>>

ALSO:

Tomorrow, The UN: Feds President Takes Reins At World Farming Body

Federated Farmers president Dr William Rolleston has been appointed acting president of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) at a meeting in Geneva overnight. More>>

ALSO:

I Sing The Highway Electric: Charge Net NZ To Connect New Zealand

BMW is turning Middle Earth electric after today announcing a substantial contribution to the charging network Charge Net NZ. This landmark partnership will enable Kiwis to drive their electric vehicles (EVs) right across New Zealand through the installation of a fast charging highway stretching from Kaitaia to Invercargill. More>>

ALSO:

Watch This Space: Mahia Rocket Lab Launch Site Officially Opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast. More>>

Earlier:

Marketing Rocks!
Ig Nobel Award Winners Assess The Personality Of Rocks

A Massey University marketing lecturer has received the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics for a research project that asked university students to describe the “brand personalities” of three rocks. More>>

ALSO:

Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news