Over time, the oil that we use to lubricate our motors picks up impurities that limit their lubricating qualities. When this happens, one must replace it to get the best possible performance for their car. But while changing our motor oil can be pretty easy, the old oil that we discard presents a very serious issue in terms of environmental impact. Every time used oil is released from an engine, it presents a threat of pollution to our surroundings.
So why is used oil dangerous? Oil like this can actually be considered as a cocktail of toxins that can be harmful to all living things. One such example of a dangerous component that it has is the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which have been directly connected to cancer development. In addition to these, they also contain dangerous metal pieces acquired from the wear and tear of the engine like arsenic, lead, and zinc. When it is exposed to oxygen and heat during engine combustion, its chemical makeup is changed into a hazardous one. What’s worse is that the consistency of used motor oil is very heavy and sticky so it stays in the environment for years and years.
Pollution to Soil and Water
Used motor oil can travel to water and soil through the form of runoffs. The moment it reaches waterways, it can negatively affect animals and plants living in the water. In addition to this, its film can also damage natural processes of these living things such as photosynthesis and oxygen replenishment. Not to mention there is also the very high risk of it polluting drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency once said that a single gallon of used oil can already contaminate a million gallons of fresh water. If this substance reaches sewage treatment plants even in minute amounts, it can already foul up the whole water treatment process in a snap. Soil will then become less productive when this happens.
How to Prevent Oil Pollution
Preventing pollution is actually quite easy. Statistics say that an average of 800 million gallons of used motor oil is already recycled every year. However, there are still millions of gallons of this substance that are improperly disposed. Nowadays, there are a number of municipal recycling centers where people can take their used oil. The best way to avoid used oil pollution is to recycle it and dispose of it properly. Never throw used motor oil in inappropriate places such as household drains, storm drains, trash, and the soil. Instead, bring it to an oil collection facility so that it can be taken care of properly. Also, make it a habit to inspect vehicles and equipment regularly to avoid oil leaks.