Time For An Oil Change

By Annie Reisewitz and Sarah Martin

It’s been calculated that a tanker leaking a drop of oil every 10 seconds releases 60 gallons of petroleum oil into the world’s oceans every year.

Water, now more than ever, has become a precious resource in need of protection. We are facing a number of looming water-related crises in the U.S. that are endangering our drinking water and food supplies. Among them, one prominent concern is the quality of our water supply. And, major contributors to the fouling of our water supply are the petroleum-based oils and lubricants used in cars and ocean-going vessels.

Many people are unaware that we use petroleum products every day and in nearly every facet of our lives, from food packaging and building to the somewhat well-known uses in transportation. Many people are aware, however, of the large quantities of plastic being used on a daily basis. Almost every day we hear about the large amounts of plastic that wind up in our oceans because it isn’t recycled or properly disposed of. We also hear about the catastrophic oil spills, such as BP, and how unprepared we are for such a crisis.

But, what we don’t hear about everyday are the other oil spills, the slow, silent oil spills. The drips and drops of used motor oil from our cars that seep into our groundwater and flow into our streams. In fact, these silent oil spills generate 10 million gallons a week globally and we don’t hear about it. Many of these oil spills go unnoticed.

Photo by Thirteen of Clubs via Flickr CC

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