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An oil spill poses considerable environmental hazards. The release of hydrocarbons, such as methane into the atmosphere leads to global warming. If not cleaned up, oils spills pose long-term ecological effects. They interfere with the natural habitat for marine plants and animals and may lead to large-scale deaths and even extinction of some species. This is because oil tends to persist for a long time until the instigation of measures such as dispersants and burn-ups for surface spills. Underwater oil contamination has the greatest impact on ocean life by severing food chains. To avert such occurrences, concerned parties should use oil-eating bacteria to clean up oil spills. Research shows that the activities of the oil-eating bacterium do not pose any significant threat to marine life (Wassenaar 98). This bacterium uses oil as its food and breaks it down without causing any deficit in oxygen levels in the water. Furthermore, the by-products from the digestion of oil are harmless to the environment. The ability of the oil-eating bacteria to multiply rapidly further enhances its effectiveness in cleaning up large amounts of oil spills. Unlike other methods of cleaning oil spills, oil-eating bacteria considerably minimizes the traces of oil in water. The engineering of oil-eating bacteria creates bacteria strains that are more stable compared to the natural strains that are subjects to factors such as competition, which slow down the clean-up process (Kratz 305).
The release of genetically engineered bacteria into areas experiencing oil spills may encounter aspects of uncontrolled growth of the bacteria strain. Such occurrence may cause an imbalance in the natural marine ecosystem. In addition, uncontrolled growth of oil-eating bacteria may create a scenario in which interests of oil companies suffer when the organisms invade oil wells. However, such scenarios are unlikely as the bacteria growth depends on a multitude of other factors such as the injection of fertilizer elements.