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4. Why Use Dispersants?

Dispersing an oil slick can also prevent oil from coming ashore, minimizing impacts to biologically sensitive shoreline environments, like the oiled mangrove swamp below, as well as economically important areas like tourism beaches, and culturally important areas, like archaeological sites.

Mangrove swamps provide valuable habitat for nesting birds, juvenile fish, and many other species. Mangroves are very vulnerable to oil, which can kill or cause lasting damage to the trees. Photo: Oil stranded in and around mangrove islets.
Oil stranded in and around mangrove islets in Tampa Bay (Bouchard Barge B-155 spill, 1993; NOAA OR&R)
   
Oil spilled from a damaged freighter came ashore in Puerto Rico in 1994, oiling this hotel swimming beach and lagoon. Photo: Floating oil and shadows in lagoon.
Floating oil, along with submerged oil mixed with sediment, appears as a dark patch along the lagoon shore.
Last updated Monday, May 14, 2012 9:42am PDT