What may seem like just black rocks on the beach are actually a product of oil spills and oil seepage - the greatest source of hydrocarbon pollution in the ocean and atmosphere. As the oil rises to the surface and floats, it coagulates and biodegrades into tar balls. Before the tar balls solidify, they are sticky and often hazardous to all species of marine life including marine mammals, seabirds, and crustaceans alike.
Since the leak in a California oil pipeline in June of 2016 that spilled more than 30,000 gallons of crude oil in the Pacific Ocean, the amount of tar balls that wash up on shore has multiplied exponentially. There has been no found methods to clean up these tar balls besides by mechanical beach cleaners that comb through the sands and by hand. Learn more about tar balls HERE.
Not only did the California team remove tar balls, they also picked up all of the trash they found along the beach as well!
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