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The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from a British Petroleum (BP) oil rig is possibly the most nagging problem that environmentalists are concerned with right now. The concern is not misplaced given the danger posed by the spill on both humans and animals. The fact that water birds have died in large numbers as a result of the thick crude oil is scary. There is also a deep and genuine fear that fish from the waters affected by the spill may find their way into dinner tables and thus put the health of people in jeopardy. This issue becomes even more serious given the reality that the company that is responsible for the spill as well as the government has not managed to control the spill. The waters are taking in more gallons of oil with each passing minute.
The latest data from the spill shows that more than ninety (90) million gallons of crude oil have are already in the Gulf waters (Jones & Jervis, p. 1). Is this something that we should be scared of? The answer to this question is obvious. As already pointed out in the introduction, the animals in the Gulf waters have already taken a beating from the crude oil. The number of birds that have died as a result of the oil is high. There is a growing fear that crude oil may end up in the human body through fish consumption. The wider water ecosystem in the Gulf is in big trouble as a result of the crude oil. The thick cover the oil makes cannot allow oxygen to penetrate and thus makes it difficult for aerobic processes in water creatures (Burger, pp. 4-7). Is this all?
The above is not the entire accounting of the dangers we face as a result of the spill. The men and women whose lives depended on fish from the Gulf of Mexico are out of employment at the moment. They have to rely on handouts from either the government or the company that is responsible for the spill. Frustration has made them lose hope and there are reports of suicide cases (Mason, p. 1). This is not easy for people who had their dignity and relied on their hard work for their livelihoods. There is also the additional economic cost that has come with the closure of beaches. The Gulf of Mexico is famous for its beautiful beaches that swell with visitors during summer days. With the brown thick crude scattered all over the shores, the beach seekers will not be visiting the Gulf this summer; and if they do, not in any reasonable numbers. The impact of this scenario on the people who relied on this activity for their daily bread is clear to all. They will be experiencing hard economic times for as long as the spill continues. The stoppage of the spill will not automatically mean a return to normal life since more time will be spent trying to remove the crude oil from the waters.
The lack of a proper method of dealing with the concerned oil rig is the issue. The company responsible has displayed the greatest form of irresponsibility given that such a problem should have been anticipated and preventive measures put in place. The solution to the problem is none other than ensuring that the oil that is spilling from the well is tapped instead of spilling into the Gulf waters. This is for the company (BP) and the government to do. The major culprit is the company given the free enterprise spirit of the United States that allows businesses to run with little government intervention.
In conclusion, the spill is a problem. Human and animal life is in trouble, both directly through coming into contact with crude oil, or indirectly through the impact on the economy. The recommendation is that the company speeds up its search for a better method to stop the spill. This should then be followed by a comprehensive clean-up exercise and compensation of the people whose lives have been affected by the disaster. The wildlife that has been affected such as the birds should also be taken care of with professional advice from conservationists. The government should ensure that BP meets its obligations as far as the spill is concerned.
- Burger, Joanna. Oil Spills. New York: Rutgers University Press.1997.Print.
- Jones, Charisse & Jervis,Rick. “Oil Spill Takes Toll On Tourism On Gulf Coast.” Usa Today. 2010.
- Mason, Rowena. “BP oil spill: Suicide of fisherman ‘distraught at spill’.” The Telegraph.co.uk. 2010.Web.