This paper discusses the oil spillage issue in the Gulf of Mexico in terms of the reactions it has elicited both locally and internationally. The Oil spill has had devastating effects both on the environment and aquatic life. The massive water pollution resulting from the spillage is threatening aquatic life. The issue has also affected the livelihood of those who depended on the sea as a source of food as well as the business processes related to the fishing industry. The paper will also outline how the oil spillage issue is a growing concern both nationally and internationally.
Effects of the Oil Spill on the Gulf of Mexico
Water pollution is a major area of concern to our society. Water is a habitat for millions of aquatic animals and plants. Human beings entirely depend on water bodies as a source of water both for domestic and industrial use. Freshwater is important for maintaining hygienic living conditions. Polluted water spreads deadly waterborne diseases such as Cholera, Typhoid and Dysentery. The Oil spill at the Gulf of Mexico has brought more profound issues than expected. BP Plc, the company responsible for the importation of oil across the Gulf of Mexico estimates that 12,000 to 25,000 barrels of oil are leaking out of its well daily (Gillis and Fountain).
The effects of the oil spill have been viewed as a pointer leading to environmental degradation and influencing climatic change in the region. Vegetation around the Gulf coastline acts as a barrier to contain ocean tides and waves from hitting the mainland. The oil spillage has led to suffocation of the vegetation; this is a beckoning sign of more environmental problems resulting from high ocean tides and waves. Scientists have anticipated how this spillage will affect the climatic condition of the coastline and ultimately the whole treasured region. The flooding of oil in the wetlands has led to accumulation of toxins in water and aquatic plants.
The spillage is said to have coincided with the hatching of animals which have habitat along the Gulf Coast species such as the alligators, Pelican and Shrimps (Gillis). It is feared that the toxic oil poses a life risk to the lives of the young aquatic animals along the coastline. The animals are forced to wade through the oily water to search for food both for themselves and their young ones. This venture endangers their lives even more. The environmental effects witnessed here will destabilize the ecological system of the region in a massive way in and around the Gulf of Mexico. The effect may also lead to migration or extinction of the treasured birds in the region.
The Seafood industry which is a major boast to the economy has not been spared by the spillage either. Fish supply to Louisiana Seafood industries which supplies the market with over 10% of the United States seafood, has been affected (Gillis and Fountain). Aquatic fish such as the oysters, crabs and Shrimps the favorite food both in the local and international market is decreasing at a fast rate.
The Oil spill has also affected the health of people residing along the coastline and the neighboring communities. The oil vapor from the oil spillage inhaled by human beings is a major health concern. Studies have indicated that oil comprises of volatile a chemical which is associated with cancer and miscarriage if inhaled over along time. People with respiratory problems and pregnant women are more prone to the risk. Oil has also been known to have skin damaging effects. The people who have been contracted by the BP Plc to do clean up on the sea may suffer long term effects that may translate to community devastation leading to increased intake of alcohol, violence, suicide and divorce.
Financial cost is another issue that has been linked with the Gulf Oil Spill. BP has actually spent Millions of dollars to contain the spillage. Their daily stock value has drastically reduced. This is the largest amount of dollars to have been spent in the Oil spill History after the Exxon spend over $ 4 billion in 1989 (Gillis). The financial implication of BP will make it to take along time in order to regain its reputation and market worthy. This is consequently in contrast to its reputation has the most environmentally friendly, stable and responsible company.
The BP oil spill has had a long term implication both nationally and internationally. This has affected the ecosystem because of pollution, climatic condition will be affected because of withering of plants and health issue of the communities living at the coastline has been greatly been affected.
- Gillis, Justin, and Fountain, Henry. “Rate of Oil Leak, Still Not Clear, Puts Doubt on BP.” The New York Times, 2010.
- Gillis, Justin. “Plumes of Oil below Surface Raise New Concerns.” The New York Times, 2010.