Coral reefs are among the most spectacular creations of nature. They are also among the most complex, diverse, and economically valuable ecosystems in the world. But coral reef pollution is threatening to ruin it all. These delicately beautiful coral reefs are vulnerable to a variety of local and global impacts. Apart from global warming and pollution caused by sewage, fertilizers, and pesticides that run into the ocean from land, another major cause of coral reef pollution are oil spills.
Coral reefs are especially vulnerable to oil spills as these generally occur near the shoreline. Oil spill effects on coral reefs are highly detrimental. The severity of coral reef pollution depends on a number of factors such as the type of oil spilled, quantity, nature of oil, exposure, and the time of the spill.
The toxicity of oil not only hinders coral reproduction, growth, behavior, and development of corals, but can even kill them. Another serious effect of oil spills on coral reefs is coral bleaching. Bleaching occurs when coral polyps lose their pigmented zooxanthellae. In other words, the corals lose their color due to toxic exposures to oil. Severe bleaching may even result in the death of most of the corals that are affected. And those that survive face problems such as reproductive impairment, slower growth, and decreased ability to repair themselves. It can take many years for a reef community to recover from the damage caused by a single oil spill.
Apart from disastrous oil spill effects, what causes even more concern is the fact that oil spill cleanup agents are more toxic to coral reefs than the actual oil spilled. So the best way to clean a spill without causing any further harm is by using bio products that are biodegradable, like Ecoblue for the oil spill cleanup.