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Title: Oil pollution on the Libyan coast
Author: Walda, Walid
ISNI:       0000 0001 3551 0412
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2002
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Oil pollution in Libyan coastal waters was investigated using chemical and ecological approaches. Chemical assessment of petroleum hydrocarbons (HCs) showed that levels of oil pollution were linked to localised sources such as coastal refineries and seaports. Concentrations of HCs were up to 33 ppm in seawater and up to 660 ppm in sediments near to coastal oil refineries. Possible measures to reduce inputs from such sources were investigated by determining long-term changes in HCs in sediments in Southampton Water following improvements to cooling water management at the Fawley refinery. These changes resulted in a reduction of sediment HCs of ca. 50% between 1978 and 2001. Similar improvements could be made in Libya to reduce HCs pollution from refineries but the timescale for such reductions cannot currently be predicted accurately. Determination of the deposition of oil on sandy beaches showed that tar balls were deposited mainly between 2 m and 16 m from the water's edge. The average concentration of tar balls on the most polluted beach was 24 gm⁻². Deposition of oil on rocky shores resulted in considerable smothering of the substrate and accounted for up to 38% of surface area on rocky shores close to Tripoli, probably as the result of small oil spillages during routine seaport activities and the disposal of municipal and industrial sewage. The impact of oil pollution on rocky shore communities was determined by comparing the abundance of major species on rocky shores at sites in heavily polluted and less polluted regions. Rocky shores in polluted areas were characterised by very low species abundance, with Patella sp., for example, being present at less than 20 individuals m⁻² on rocky shores near to Tripoli. Species abundance on rocky shores was negatively related to the proportion of substrate smothered by tar deposits. The implications of the findings of this study for the protection of the Libyan coast against the impacts of oil pollution are discussed and priorities for mitigation are suggested.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Hydrocarbons