Oil spills occur when oil leaks into the sea or ocean. This may be due to mistakes or carelessness. They have remarkably drastic effects on the ecosystem of the ocean. It is essential to estimate the cost of an oil spill. The total cost of a spill has several expenses associated with it. They range from cost of personnel during the cleanup, fees and fines from state agencies to economic losses, environmental damages and loss of sale products (Lampton 1992). It is not that easy to conclude the cost of an oil spill.
Environmental cost of oil spills
One serious effect of oil spills is contamination. The short term effects include contamination of fish and sea creatures. This leads to a mass death of these organisms. Other wildlife that lives near the ocean is also affected. The effects include deadly effects of exposure to ingestion, causes damage to their reproductive systems and interruption of the food chain. Some oil spills invade coastal areas inhabited by human residents, or areas of recreational and fishing activities. The spills negatively affect the activities carried out. The soil on the shores is also heavily affected (Croitoru, Maria & Sherif 2010). According to 1997 OSIR International Oil Spill Database report, depending on the oil type, degree of spill, cleanup strategy and other factors, the price per cleaned ton may range from 3, 000 to 25, 000 thousand US dollars.
Clean up measures
Dealing with an oil spill to ensure minimal damage is very complex. One of the key measures is to work together with the departments involved. For example, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Oil Spill Program emphasizes early planning and collaboration at all levels in a determination to decrease the damages (Fingas, Wayne & Gail 1979: p42). The United States Environmental Protection Agency helps in preventing and reacting to oil spills that happen in and nearby the United States. Some companies do not involve themselves in policies surrounding oil spills. A policy proposed by the United States prohibiting drilling was opposed by more than70% of Americans and oil companies. This shows that the companies would rather deal on the problems than rely on policies.