Oil spills pose serious environmental effects that adversely impact the wildlife and habitats in marine and freshwater ecosystems. The repercussions of these man-made disasters are wide ranging and can be detrimental to the health of surrounding human populations.
The degree of damage caused by oil spills depends on several factors, including the volume and type of spilt oil and the effects of tidal forces that can further spread the contamination. Spills from different types of oils, including very-light, light, medium, heavy and very-heavy oils destroy aquatic life and marine communities due to their toxic chemical constituents, which are mostly insoluble in water and difficult to clean up. People who drink contaminated water brought on by oil spills are also exposed to lethal concentrations of cancer-causing agents, which can lead to various forms of malignancies.