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Save Marine Lives by stopping Oil Leaks from Cars

This petition had 449 supporters

The Problem : A remarkable 95% of the oil in oceans is our fault! According to NOAA, hundreds of millions of gallons of oil end up in the ocean every year, and only 5% of that is from big spills (Source).oil residue on roadways and oil dumped into storm drains are the number one source of oil pollution in the ocean. Oil leaks from motor vehicles is the number one source.

Oil leaks from our cars and when it rains, it enters the storm drains and begins its journey to the ocean. Since a storm drain does not filter, the oil goes straight into the ocean. Since most oils float, the creatures most affected by oil are animals like sea otters and seabirds that are found on the sea surface or on shorelines. Oil destroys the insulating ability of fur-bearing mammals, such as sea otters, and the water repellency of a bird's feathers, thus exposing these creatures to the harsh elements. Without the ability to repel water and insulate from the cold water, birds and mammals will die from hypothermia. Many birds and animals also ingest oil when they try to clean themselves, which can poison them. Fish and shellfish may not be exposed immediately, but can come into contact with oil if it is mixed into the water column. When exposed to oil, adult fish may experience reduced growth, enlarged livers, and changes in heart and respiration rates, fin erosion, and reproduction impairment. Oil also adversely affects eggs and larval survival.

We caused it, we need to stop it!

Problem Analysis: How wide spread is this problem of oil leak from motor vehicles?

One quart of motor oil can pollute 250,000 gallons of water, and one gallon of gasoline can pollute 750,000 gallons of water!
According to NASA, the worldwide oil pollution through the drain is 360 million gallons annually.
Americans spill 180 million gallons of used oil each year into the nation's waters. This is 16 times the amount spilled by the Exxon Valdez in Alaska!
How big is the impact to marine life?

·       The BP oil spill, which was estimated to be 210 million US gallons, has likely harmed or killed approximately 82,000 birds of 102 species, approximately 6,165 sea turtles, and up to 25,900 marine mammals, including bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, melon-headed whales and sperm whales.

·       Imagine the kind of disaster that would be caused by 360 million gallons of oils from motor vehicles every year.

Proposed Solution: Oil works to cool down the engine but it can leak from quite a few places. We could not cover all the parts of the engine that leaked separately, so we decided to cover the engine’s bottom altogether.

1.         Trap Tray: Trap tray gets fit under the engine section. It is used to house the absorbent material and the metallic mesh.

2.         Protective Mesh: Often times, the oil that is leaking from the engine might be hot. Hot oil dripping directly on the absorbent material can cause fire danger. In order to prevent this, a protective aluminum mesh is used as the first layer which comes in contact with the oil. Just like the filters used inside the cooking range vents, the oil after cooling down a bit in the metallic mesh will drip and hit the absorbent material layer that is placed under it.

3.         Absorbent material: The absorbent material that goes in between the trap tray and metallic mesh will absorb and lock in the oil that is dripping on it. It can be easily replaced during every oil change.

Advantages of our solution:

·       We estimate that the overall cost of this solution would be 30 USD

·       Cost of the tray – 25 USD

·       Cost of the metallic mesh – 4 USD

·       Cost of absorbent material – 1 USD

·       Cost of one time installation would be around 30 USD

·       Cost of replacement absorbent cloth – 1 USD

 Thus we can see that, instead of the millions of dollars to be spent by a county, our solution only has an operating cost of 1 USD per car per oil change. This is a much more affordable alternative and an effective way to address the key problem of oil leaks from motor vehicles affecting marine life!

This problem was analyzed and solution was proposed by WS SPARX from Warm Springs Elementary – a team of 6 sixth grade students as part of their 2016 Animal Allies Project. Please support them to make their effort of freeing our ocean from oil leaks a reality!

WS SPARX also petitions to make oil leak check mandatory during mandatory Smog checks of cars. Without passing oil leak check, cars should not be allowed back on road. Fremont can lead the way by making this change and set example to others.

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