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Environmental Disaster

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    Environmental Disaster Who would have known that on April 20th 2010, the United States would soon be facing the worst environmental disaster. On that fateful day, an offshore oilrig named the “Deepwater Horizon” suffered an explosion. Seventeen people were injured and eleven people died from the accident. The damaged oilrig sank into the Gulf of Mexico the next day, and a one-by-five mile oil slick appeared in the ocean. At the time, it was unknown whether the oil was from the rig or if the underwater oil well was leaking.

    The BP oil company soon realized the well, which is five thousand feet below the surface, was gushing oil at a rate of thirty-five thousand to sixty thousand barrels a day. The Gulf region is in a state of emergency because tourism, wildlife, jobs, and the environment are going to take catastrophic hits. Tourism in the cities on the Gulf are hurting severely because of the oil spill. Tourists visit those cities for their sugar-sand beaches and their great seafood restaurants. However, the sugar-sand beaches are coated with oil and the seafood restaurants have closed down because of the lack of seafood.

    In Biloxi, Mississippi nine miles of beaches are nearly empty at a time when local residents say bathers and vendors typically swarm the sands (Wall Street Journal). In Florida, tourism is one of the top money-making industries. Furthermore, if oil hits the beaches of Pensacola that could in turn hurt Miami’s tourism. People can change and fix what is being done on the Gulf; however, wildlife cannot. There are many species of animals that live in and out of the water and are in danger from the oil spill. Animals have no idea about ingesting oil or how to run away from danger.

    Birds will usually ingest the oil through their feathers, causing kidney damage or irritation in their digestive tract. Since they have used a dispersant to break the oil up, the oil then sinks and the fish or other marine life think it is food. Furthermore, they are ingesting the oil that they may later die from. Oiled birds have been collected and dolphins and sea turtles have been found dead (Ball and Hotz). There is also a turtle habitat that may be threatened by the spill. The turtle species is the Kemp’s Ridley Turtle.

    They are the smallest marine turtle throughout the world and its only known breeding habitat is the Gulf of Mexico, along the coast of Texas and Mexico. With many bird sanctuaries along the gulf and aquatic life in danger, environmentalists do try to capture and clean as many animals that are struck by the oil. However, with the well still gushing oil there is little they can do to help the jobs at risk on the gulf. Because of the spill there are many people suffering on the gulf because of their jobs being in question.

    The workers that were previously employed on the oilrig are now out of job because of the explosion. The President also put a six-month ban on offshore drilling which could leave a lot of people without work. A company lost $100,000 worth of booked trips for the summer — high season in this world-class sport-fishing area — as the worst offshore environmental disaster ever to afflict the U. S. scared off the tourists (Wall Street Journal). There is about thirty seven percent of Federal Gulf Waters that are banned from fishing.

    Furthermore, that puts a lot of fisherman out of work, especially when the gulf produces about three quarters of all US Shrimp. The oil spill can also cause the ports along the gulf to close if the oil reaches them. With jobs being lost and wildlife in danger, the uncertainty of our environment is now even greater. There are many volunteers and paid workers that are helping with the cleanup of the spill. Shortly after noticing oil on the surface of the ocean BP oil company sent people out on boats to help with the clean up.

    Which later had to be called off because many workers complained of nausea and headaches from the fumes. Those fumes have also been reported on the beaches of the gulf. Millions of barrels of crude oil have entered the aquatic food chain since BP’s rig collapsed April 20 (Christian Science Monitor). Moreover, the oil waste and the oiled boom will be disposed of in a regular landfill because it did not meet the hazardous waste guideline. A dispersant is also being used above and below the water to break up the oil.

    This dispersant may be toxic to marine life, wildlife, and humans. At this time the reason of the oil spill is unknown. There have been talks of human error and shortcuts taken on equipment that may have been the cause. Whatever the reason may be this is a disaster of epic proportions. As a child I visited Pensacola Beach every summer for a month with my grandparents. I always remember the sugar-sand beaches and the warm waters that always had jellyfish in it. This story really hits home for me and also hurts my heart when I see people and wildlife hurting because of negligence.

    The Gulf of Mexico has a very complex ecosystem and the only Coral Reef ecosystem in the continental United States that is danger from the oil spill. The Gulf region is in a state of emergency because tourism, wildlife, jobs, and the environment are going to take catastrophic hits. Work Cited “Tar Balls Avoid Mississippi — But So Do Tourists. ” Wall Street Journal (Online)  14  Jun 2010,ProQuest National Newspapers Core, ProQuest. Web. 15 Jun. 2010. [Make sure this is double spaced and that all spacing between words and punctuation is correct.

    Apply the latter throughout. ] Jeffrey Ball, and Robert Lee Hotz. “Gauging Harm to Ecosystem Could Take Years. ” Wall Street Journal (Online)  28  May 2010,ProQuest National Newspapers Core, ProQuest. Web. 16 Jun. 2010. “The Gulf Oil Spill: In Louisiana, Scrambling for Work. ” Wall Street Journal  10  Jun 2010, Eastern edition: ProQuest National Newspapers Core, ProQuest. Web. 16 Jun. 2010. “Gulf oil spill as a lesson on humans in nature. ” The Christian Science Monitor  2  Jun 2010,ProQuest National Newspapers Core, ProQuest. Web. 16 Jun. 2010.

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