When a major oil spill occurs, headlines are plastered across every newspaper in print and on the web. Pictures of oil covered wildlife tug at our heartstrings and we’re often left thinking, “How can we continue to let this happen? We need to do something about it.”
The truth is: we are doing something about it.
According to data from The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), a not-for-profit organization devoted to marine environment and ship-source oil spill response, oil spills greater than 700 tons have decreased significantly over the last 50 years. And even when we take a closer snapshot at the last ten years, we’re down nearly 50% with the average large oil spills per year going from 3.2 to 1.7.
ITOPF has been tracking data since 1970 and statistically shows that the notion of reckless oil transportation and spills is simply not true, and the majority of oil lost to the environment is attributed to a few large oils spills compared to multiple and rampant oil spills. In fact, the dramatic decline of oils spills is even more impressive when you consider the overall increase in oil trading since the mid-80’s.
While we always hate to see oil lost to the environment, it’s encouraging to see this occur less and less, and know that statistics confirm we as a global community are doing much better in this regard.