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Oil spills are major environmental disasters. They can endanger wildlife, destroy ecosystems and cause serious economic damage to communities affected by them. The future of plants, animals and human beings would certainly be better if all future oil spills could be prevented. End Humanity’s Dependence on Fossil Fuels Perhaps the simplest way to end oil spills is to gradually reduce the need for oil drilling. Some headway has been made in this direction—hybrid cars that are partially powered by electricity are now available from all major auto manufacturers. Ethanol, which is created from corn, is also gaining popularity as an alternative fuel source. Overall, there are many benefits to ending dependence on oil beyond preventing oil spills. Independence from non-renewable energy sources should certainly be a goal that human civilization aims to achieve in the foreseeable future. Hold Oil Companies Accountable In a free market system, there need to be incentives for businesses to act. Without financial incentive, negligence and pollution become commonplace. This is why holding oil companies financially accountable is absolutely necessary for spill prevention. If oil spills can irreparably harm their profits, companies in the industry will be sure to guarantee they do not happen. Financial punishments can either come from government fines or though the civil court system—either way, the financial punishments must be massive to match the massive profits of these oil companies. Monitor Oil Drilling Near At-Risk Ecosystems Another way to fight oil spills is to thoroughly monitor companies drilling for oil near ecosystems that are most at risk for being harmed by a spill. This, of course, requires action from the government. While it is unlikely that all unsafe oil drilling could be stopped this way, petitioning the government to have drilling activities monitored in areas where they could do the most harm is an excellent idea. Keeping Equipment in Good Shape One of the best ways to prevent accidents and disasters, in any industry, is to ensure all equipment is well-maintained and kept in optimal condition. This is also true for any storage containers used, especially the barrels and drums of the oil industry. A specialist from Powerblanket says barrel storage can be difficult for any material that isn’t extremely shelf-stable, meaning oil companies should take great care to prevent any possible damage as a result of inadequate storage. 4. Be More Vigilant Overall, oil spills happen due to negligence—they are not created on purpose (with a few historical exceptions). If those responsible for safe drilling would have been more vigilant in their efforts to prevent oil spills, most major spills on record may have been prevented. This should even be the case for regular citizens. While a minor spill originating from the tank of a fishing boat will not have as big of an effect as an industrial-sized spill, it can still pollute the environment. Oil spills can ruin an ecosystem for plants and animals for generations. We owe it to the environment to try to ensure that another major oil spill does not happen.