Oil – this word is inflected in mass media all over the world. "The black gold of the earth" is a treasure yet related with many problems, environmental ones in particular. They include climate changes, destruction of the ozone layer, pollution of marine and ocean waters, soil, surface and groundwater, and destruction of biodiversity. Oil, its products and their components are dangerous, toxic and even cancer-causing. Upon getting into the environment they destroy every life. They produce an adverse effect on human beings and their living environment.
Our traditionally agrarian country became an industrial one in the second half of the last century. The demand for energy, its production and consumption increased. The imported fuel oil was the main source of energy. The content of sulphur in it reached even 3%. Consumption of other oil products increased as well. Having built the Klaipėda oil export terminal, Mažeikiai oil processing plant and pipeline and started oil extraction on the western slopes of Coastal Plain and Žemaičiai Upland, Lithuania became a country of oil transit, extraction, processing and export.
Economic system of that time, low prices for energy resources, environmental illiteracy of society, inefficient extraction technologies, poor state of transport systems, and uncontrolled activity of the Soviet Army were the causes of extreme pollution of environment. The consequences dangerous for people and nature are still evident. A powerful flow of oil and its products takes its course in the land and in the Baltic Sea in the southern and western directions. We are in a visible and invisible grip of oil flows, and the well-known platform D-6 is its main brace. The 21st of November of 1981 is branded in the minds of our people, especially those living in the coastal area. More than 16,000 tons of fuel oil were spilled in the Klaipėda port waters and in the offshore on this day after the wreck of oil tank Globe Assimi on the northern jetty of the port. Only due to selfless efforts of many people working with most primitive implements – shovels and buckets under difficult meteorological conditions the main mass of spilled fuel oil was collected. Yet three quarries filled with a mixture of fuel oil and sand and clots of degraded fuel oil thrown out by the sea instead of amber will remind us to be ready for liquidation of the consequences of probable similar accidents in the future.
Life impelled us to consider the ways of reducing oil emissions into the environment, protection of surface and groundwater from the impact of petroleum hydrocarbons, preservation of soil and other natural resources, stabilization and reconstruction of biodiversity. This was the beginning. The actual implementation of environment protection started ten years ago when a polygon of biological cleaning of soils polluted with oil and its products ( the first in the territory of the former USSR) was built in Lithuania. The idea fostered by oilmen and environmentalists was incarnated by Oil Company Klaipėdos nafta without any governmental or foreign support. After reorganization of the management of economy the polygon was transferred to the Lithuanian Ministry of Environment in 1996. Public agency Soil Remediation Technologies was established on its basis. A small staff of environmentalist enthusiasts in cooperation with the state environmental institutions and municipalities little by little heals up the wounds of our country, propagates and inoculates the ideas and measures of prevention of pollution, and creates and improves high remediation technologies.
Using technologies worked out by Prof. Karolis Jankevičius, Prof. Lilija Kalėdienė and Prof. Albinas Lugauskas 4,000 tons of oil products which yesterday, today or tomorrow would possibly reach the Baltic Sea were decomposed by biological methods till the elementary constituents: carbon dioxide and water.