ARTHUR TREES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ARTHUR TREES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Oil-polluted river. Oil from faulty oil tanks (background) spreads across a river. This is a particularly destructive form of freshwater pollution. Because oil floats on the water without dissolving, a small amount can quickly spread out to cover a large area. The surface film deprives the water below of oxygen and reduces light penetration. Toxic constituents of some types of oil are water soluble and can enter the food chain. Waterfowl that become contaminated by the oil attempt to clean it off and can swallow large quantities, with fatal results. Photographed in New Orleans, USA.
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