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Oil Spill Threatens Ocean Ecology

ROMAN STRIGA/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Experts are warning that the Iranian tanker Sanchi oil spill in January in the East China Sea could potentially be one of the worst in decades. Scientists from the UK National Oceanography Centre and the University of Southampton are monitoring the disaster, believing it could severely impact important reefs, fishing grounds and protected marine areas in Japan. They are also concerned by the toxic nature of the ultra-light, highly flammable oil and unknown impacts. Simon Boxall, with the centre, notes, “It’s not like crude, which does break down under natural microbial action. This stuff actually kills the microbes that break the oil down.”

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