BP Oil Spill

by Haily Mae Dunn, , October 1, 2010

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BP Oil Spill
On April 20th, 2010, the largest accidental spill occurred in the petroleum industry. In the Gulf of Mexico, some 4.9 million barrels of oil leaked into the water before the well was capped on July 15th. This accidental explosion left eleven workers dead (McKie, 2010). How is it that only after a month's worth of oil leaking into the Gulf, killing thousands of plants and animals that someone finally decided to cap the well? As great as it sounds to just cap it, it wasn't that easy.

The flow of oil needed to be stopped, but many had trouble finding a way to create a seal that could withstand the pressure and depth of the well and the water. The days added up this summer while I watched CBS news every evening to monitor the process. It seemed as though the whole country was captured by the images of the destruction to plants and animals, and the loss of work and stability for humans.

Children were making artwork to sell to raise money for those affected by the oil spill. Others had countless ideas about how to cap the ruptured well. Nothing seemed to offer BP a saving grace.

Originally, it was suggested that the Deepwater Horizon well leak would not have a great impact on beaches, wildlife refuge, and wilderness areas because of its distance to shore (McKie), however as we have seen, many of these things have been affected over the past few months. The cleanup efforts have not been as effective as planned. Efforts to burn the oil or block it off have been disrupted by strong sea currents and winds (McKie, 2010). With the amount of oil that was able to leak before it was able to be stopped, it has become harder and harder to contain the spill's spread.

The frustration built over the months of cleanup and leak retardation has become more than just a spill for the Gulf, it's a spill affecting the masses. The current situation with the oil has even made a person like myself, a college student far away from the spill, disturbed by the destruction it caused. If a person, such as myself who is sheltered by not being in the real world and being under the wing of my parents, imagine how an oil spill can affect those who live along the shores of the Gulf Coast.

Of the 35,000 ideas of how to clean up the mess, only four of them have been tested. It is discouraging that with the millions of gallons that need to be cleaned, such a small number of solutions were tried. It seems as though more effort would be made during such a tragedy. With each proposal comes a wide range of testing. Each idea is carefully explored and tested for practicality and as the process develops, only four ideas have made it far enough to actually test on site (Wechsler, & Lauerman, 2010).

For someone looking in on this situation, not knowing details, this is incredibly frustrating. It seems unreal that more efforts have not been taken to solve this problem. Even now, almost four months after the spill, the world is still being affected. Birds and other wildlife suffer daily. Oil gets into their skin and feathers and causes many problems including digestive failure and dehydration. Marine animals are also feeling the impact of the spill. As the world is interconnected, not only animals are feeling the effects, but humans may start seeing them as well. Because this spill could take years to clean up, pollution surely becomes an issue.

It seems unfair, how much the United States can work together to find relief for Haiti, which is a more terrible situation, but the U.S. doesn't get as big of an aid response back in relief situations, like this one. The international response was underwhelming. While the Haiti earthquake was much more detrimental to human life, in comparison to how much the United States involved itself to help Haiti, when we had a situation at home, we just don't seem to be as on top of our game as we should be.

The BP Oil Spill has been a tragic event in which precautions could have been taken. It has been said that there were many signs that were ignored that the explosion was going to take place (McKie, 2010). It is sad to know that this all could have been avoided. The impact that it has had on us is great and could take years to clean up.

There are still so many questions we want answered. This spill is not a quick fix, but something that we will be dealing with possibly for the next few years.

Works Cited
McKie, Robin. (2010, May 2). Gulf oil spill at deepwater horizon threatens $8bn clean-up and an ecological oil slick disaster for the us. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/may/02/bp-oil-spill-costs-impact

Wechsler, Pat, & Lauerman, John. (2010, June 13). "As the Spill continues, cleanup ideas wait." Bloomberg Businessweek, 20-21.

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