Rather than simply being burnt, oil is now increasingly used for other purposes through petrochemistry. With the use of natural gas, it allows the production of plastics, fibres, rubbers, synthetic detergents, fertilisers, solvents, pesticides, medicines and many other products with an incommensurable added value over combustion.
These products are used in a wide range of contexts, from daily life (plastic containers, furniture, coatings), to advanced technology (computer parts, materials for aerospace industry), public works (permeable felt, watertight films), human and animal health (syringes), transport (tyres, paint) and many other sectors. Certain products such as anti-adherents or dispersants can even assist in oil or chemical spill response.
Others, however, like pesticides can themselves be sources of water pollution in the event of inappropriate usage. Plastic bags and bottles can also become pollutants if they are dumped in the environment or accidentally dropped into a river or the sea.
What not to do: plastic objects dumped in the environment