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The role of the World Ocean in the global life-support system can’t be overestimated. Covering 2/3 of the surface of our planet, it is the largest supplier of Earth’s oxygen and the carbon dioxide sink. It participates in climate formation, accumulating heat in summer and giving up it in winter; it ensures a continuous supply of food, consumed by the world’s population. Nevertheless, over many decades, the seas and oceans are rapidly becoming contaminated from all possible sources. Practically, there are no reservoirs in the world, the water in which is suitable for drinking. They would have ceased to exist long ago without their daily replenishment with wastewater, poisoned with all sorts of substances and synthetic compounds. The sources of pollution of the marine environment are very diverse and numerous. One of the largest environmental problems of the states today is the pollution of the environment, including the marine pollution with oil and petroleum products. This occurs as due to the violation of mining and processing technology, as a result of accidents of ships, carrying oil in bulk, and in the process of their daily activities. Obviously, the importance of oil in the modern economy is very high, as its use largely determines the degree of economic development of any state. Most of it is used to produce all kinds of fuel (gasoline, diesel, ship fuel, liquefied gas, aviation fuel, heating oil). In addition, oil is used to create synthetic materials, in the production of electricity and heat. At the same time, it should be noted, that the use of oil and petroleum products, practically at all stages, from extraction to processing, involves the generation of a large amount of wastes. As a result of emissions or incineration, they release to the land, water or the atmosphere, and cause irreparable damage to the environment and human health. According to the experts, millions of tons of oil products annually enter the waters of the World Ocean. Due to this, some of the territories of seas and oceans are almost constantly covered with a dense film, oxygen-tight and destructive for living organisms and marine inhabitants. The article assesses the environmental situation in the world, with regard to the protection of the World Ocean from oil pollution. The main sources of oil and petroleum products, entering the seas and oceans were defined; and the need for the states to cooperate in ensuring the universal environmental security, through the compliance with convention provisions, was established in the article.
“Everything in nature is linked by subtle
connections. And due to this, the study of nature must be carried out holistically –in such a way as not to violate these connections; it is necessary to penetrate into the secrets of nature without destroying, but preserving and improving it. “
The concept of the World Ocean was developed by the Russian scientist, oceanographer, cartographer Yu.M. Shokalsky. He determines the World Ocean as a continuous water shell of the Earth, a common feature of which is the salinity of the oceans and seas, inflowing into it. For a long time, the indicated ability of the marine environment to dissolve all the entering pollutants, as well as the activity of microscopic algae in the purification of marine and oceanic waters, have contributed to the formation of an idea of the unlimited possibilities of the World Ocean for self-purification. It was assumed, that the colossal volume of the ocean, containing about 1300 million cubic km would manage to ensure the dilution of all the incoming harmful impurities to a safe level. Nevertheless, this assumption, unfortunately, turned out to be erroneous. Despite the existing ability of the World Ocean to self- purification, and taking into account the presence in its environment of 45.5 billion of salts, capable of reducing the concentration of impurities, poisonous compounds enter the circulation of substances in ecosystems almost immediately after entering the water, without waiting for dilution. Considering, that there are 75,000 vessels of the merchant fleet in the World Ocean and more than 17,000 warships, the scale of pollution is enormous. Rapid pollution of the Ocean by household rubbish, plastics, sewage, oil and petroleum products, chemical and radioactive substances, and the studies of the state of marine environment indicate that the process of self- purification of the World Ocean has slowed significantly.
Obviously, to ensure the strict compliance with all the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982, and other international treaties and agreements in the field of protection the oceans from oil pollution, is for many reasons a long and labor-intensive process, which can be realized only with the support of international organizations, on the basis of international law and in the process of close cooperation of states, on the worldwide and regional basis. Currently, it is possible to fight with the unwillingness of large companies to carry out environmentally sound activities, as through the system of financial penalties, with compulsory accounting of received multi-billion profit, as well as through benefits for “clean” activity, from the ecological point of view, when the priority of environmental safety will be assessed neither as punishment, but as the emergence of additional economic opportunities. Nevertheless, to date, the main contribution to protection and preservation the marine environment from oil pollution is provided, above all, by scientists, who develop new methods of oil collection after the spills. Summing up the research, we would like to quote the words of the great researcher of the World Ocean and the sea depths Zh.I. Kusto: “We should not allow to poison the World Ocean forever, at the very time, when we only begun to understand, what it can give to science, began to learn how to live in its bosom”.
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