The pollution of the environment with crude or mineral oil or their by-products is called an oil spill. Most often the term is used for marine environments, where coasts, lakes, rivers and oceans are polluted. There are three main ways to combat such pollution once it has occurred:
- Use of barriers to limit the pollution to a given zone.
- Skimming of the oil with specially constructed ships
- Chemical dispersion of the oil
- Controlled burning of the oil
- Bioremediation, using microogranisms that consume the oil or oil-related products