Marine life is a fine web of interrelated food chains, all of which depend upon the chemical constituents of the sea. Diversity of species is essential to the stability of the ecological system. Crucial to the entire food-chain is the phytoplankton, which are responsible for 90 per cent of the oxygen of the earth. They provide the “pastures” for the rising scale of sea-creatures.

The natural decomposition of an oil-slick involves its oxidation by the action of bacteria, but the process depletes the dissolved oxygen supply on which marine life depends. Oil pollutants make such demands on the oxygen dissolved in seawater, that living things competing for that oxygen suffocate for lack of it. One litre of oil would deplete 400,000 litres of sea-water of its oxygen. Deoxygenation of the seawater caused the production of a ‘sea-desert’.
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