Brand : Tramos Belgium
Oil spill dispersants are controversial because unlike traditional cleanup techniques, where booms and skimmers are used in attempts to remove oil altogether from the water's surface, dispersants do not reduce the total amount of oil entering the sea. They can, however, dissolve a slick before it reaches the shoreline, where the oil smears birds and marine mammals and turns beaches and coastal wetlands black. The chemical agents used as dispersants work by reducing the tension between oil and water, thereby enhancing the natural process of dispersion that takes place when waves mix large numbers of small oil droplets into the water beneath a spill. To be effective, however, they must be used in a hurry -- within 12 to 48 hours after a spill according to the committee that wrote the new report -- before fluctuations in water temperature change the oil's viscosity, possibly turning it into a semi-solid that cannot be dispersed.