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Public Health Emergencies: Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Essay

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Updated: Sep 16th, 2022

The Gulf of Mexico oil disaster is perhaps one of the most devastating catastrophes in the history of the world. The 2010 disaster that saw an unabated flow of 4.9 million barrels of spilled oil for three consecutive months left a trail of devastation and extensive damage (Fiedler et al., 2009). The public health response was critical in solving the problem and controlling the flow and damage of the spilled oil. Besides, the management of BP oil was also very keen on relaying the disaster information to the public. This paper examines public health response, consequences of the disaster, and communication issues related to calamity.

The role held by the chain of command in any business is perhaps the most critical because it determines the type of response needed in times of disaster. When a business releases its pollutants to the environment, the resulting negative effects are very costly to people. According to Michel and Winslow (2000), the BP Company took full responsibility and sought mechanisms to reduce and ultimately restore the ecological integrity of the region.

The spillage caused a major reaction from the government and the public health officials who demanded information from BP on its dispersant effect. Consequently, the public health conducted three underwater tests through the Environmental Protection Agency (Jernelöv, 2010). This aided in breaking up of oil layer on the surface.

An understanding of environmental health background is essential in appreciating the inherent problems and issues at different levels. Environmental analysts indicate that problem identification creates the necessary impetus for an organization to come up with a solution in terms of medical care. At this point, Zimmerman (2011) notes that although the majority of environmental health problems are evident from direct observations, some of them may not be easily visible until the negative effects are reported. As a result, environmental health managers should employ the correct modern technologies that can identify the problem even at very low levels. According to the precautionary principle, environmental managers should seek to generate strong and effective treatment systems to control infections.

Oil spillage in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 had devastating effects on the environment. One such effect was on the ecology since animals in national parks faced huge threats from toxic fumes and consequent pollution. Over 34000 birds and 6841 animals died. Disturbing instances of mutations also occurred with about 50% of shrimps being born without eyes (PR Review, 2010). Fishery and tourism industries were also affected.

Communication has become one of the most important tools that individuals, businesses, and organizations use to overcome hurdles and challenges within their environment. Many businesses today suffer losses from accidents or unforeseen occurrences during normal operations. One such occurrence was experienced by BP in 2010 when it failed to plug an oil spill that ended up as a disaster to both human beings and aquatic organisms (PR Review, 2010). Oil spillage by Oil companies has been a problem in the past. However, in the face of disaster, effective communication has aided BP to maintain its brand image.

Finally, Okoye (2009) notes that the public relations in BP witnessed through effective communication has been of utmost importance in maintaining its relationship with the government, public bodies as well as its investors and employees. BP’s public relations manager has been very active and effective in communicating the policies of the company to the public and stakeholders.

References

Fiedler, S. et al. (2009). Contribution of oil industry activities to environmental loads of heavy metals in the tabasco lowlands, Mexico. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 197(1-4), 35-47.

Michel, K., & Winslow, T. S. (2000). Cargo ship bunker tanks: Designing to mitigate oil spillage. Marine Technology and SNAME News, 37(4), 191-192.

Jernelöv, A. (2010). The threats from oil spills: Now, then, and in the future. Ambio, 39(5), 353-366.

Okoye, A. (2009). Theorizing corporate social responsibility as an essentially contested concept: is a definition necessary? Journal of Business Ethics, 89, 613-627.

PR Review (2010). BP loses the battle to control the oil spill, but succeeds in its communications approach. Web.

Zimmerman, J. (2011). Principals preparing for change: the importance of reflection and professional learning. American Secondary Education 39(2): 107-114.

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IvyPanda. (2022, September 16). Public Health Emergencies: Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. https://ivypanda.com/essays/public-health-emergencies-gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill/

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Public Health Emergencies: Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill." September 16, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/public-health-emergencies-gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill/.

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