Oil spills are a real disaster. They cause worst troubles to sea birds and animals. A risk of an accident always exists within areas of oil mining and transporting, especially, in the sea. Beginning the exploitation of oil and gas fields on the sea shelf, our country is to face inevitable ecological problems, and it would be helpful to know in advance how to solve them.
An international conference on the impact of oil industry on wild animals was held in Hamburg in October of 2003. There, representatives from 17 countries of the world met up. They had many subjects to discuss, since the Old and New World coasts witnessed hundreds of oil accidents, among which the oil leaks from tankers Exxon Valdez, Erika, and Prestige were most disastrous. Our western neighbours have learned from that sad experience not only to cleanup the spill and assess damages, but also to rescue our lesser brothers. Oil traps are especially dangerous for birds. The nearest future of Russian economy is unimaginable without utilizing more fuel resources, and most of them are mined within the sea shelf. This makes us wonder, how we should act in case of a similar problems.
The question, whether such problems exist in the north of Russia now, has been addressed to Natalia Nikolaeva, WWF Russia marine program participant, who represented our country at the aforementioned conference. She gave the following comment. By the present time, there have been no places in the Russian sector of Arctic, where birds needed to be rescued from such a danger. But it is apparent that such problems will arise. Undoubtedly, oil will be mined within the northern shelf soon. However, our country has neither a service for bird rescuing, nor methods of work. Primarily, foreign handbooks on cleaning birds from oil slick should be translated into Russian. Then, specialists in bird rehabilitation should be coined. Ultimately, it is necessary to organize a centre that would promptly send emergency assistants anywhere.
Sergey Komarov | alfa
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