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BP oil, overview & the latest updates

0 Comments 02 October 2010

BP oil, overview & the latest updates

On April 20th an explosion on a drilling rig of the oil company BP in the Gulf of Mexico was about to mark history as the worst accidental oil spill ever. The disaster brought the United States down on its knee and shed a dark shadow of President Obama’s government. With environmentalists desperately struggling to save the remains of an endangered wild life and local populations mesmerized by the future of their business, BP struggled to clean up its mess while the clock was ticking faster than ever. After a series of failed attempts to stop the leakage, public opinion was starting to get highly critical and severely impatient. Obama promised he would make BP clean up the mess and take responsibility, as he launched a full on criminal investigation into the matter.

Five months later after the explosion, after numerous struggles, the government proudly declared that the well was stopped on September 19th after various tests demonstrated that the cement pumped into the well had created a successful seal. While today the leackage is finally contained, the ocean is far from being oil free as “nearly five million barrels of oil had gushed from BP’s well, according to estimates by government scientists, an amount that outstrips the estimated 3.3 million barrels spilled into the Bay of Campeche by the Mexican rig Ixtoc in 1979” (Source: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/o/oil_spills/gulf_of_mexico_2010/index.html?scp=1-spot&sq=bp%20oil%20spill&st=cse). Indeed the oil has been spreading faster than ever and by June it had managed to gild over the cost of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. As it reached the shores, desperate and surprised tourists began to pack their bags as worried fishermen stared at the ocean with a cold shiver. As biologists rescue brown pelicans, the economy of the local towns is at risk: entire villages survived thanks to fishing activities.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that close to 4, 676 birds have been collected and the majority of those were found dead, while over a thousand birds were visibly oiled. The traumatizing species have been put into rehabilitation centers until they are cured and their bodies are strong enough to be self-sufficient. The birds are just one of the many types of species that have been deadly affected by this accident. Today it remains impossible to estimate with full accuracy the damages of the spill.

Skeptical of the declarations made by the federal government, any independent scientists and scholars are launching their own private researches in order to evaluate the real damages. A report conducted by the University of Georgia in collaboration with the Georgia Sea Grant seems to declare that the amount of oil remaining is much more superior to the one reported by the federal government:  “in fact 70-79% of oil not captured at the wellhead by BP still poses a threat to the ecosystem. That’s 2.9-3.2 million barrels of oil still in the water.” (Source: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/08/80-percent-oil-from-gulf-oil-spill-remains-in-water.php). According to scholar it is false to believe that the remaining oil had simply dissolved into the water and was therefore harmless. Charles Hopkins, director of the Georgia Sea Grant sustains the reports that declare that the remaining oil is composed of dispersed micro-droplets, some with additional dispersant coats and other residuals particles. The scientists reminds us that the word “dispersed” needs not to be mistaken with the term “gone”. This is a serious misinterpretation often pushed forward by the news and mass media coverage’s. The portraits is not all negative, as some shades of positivity reflect upon the black sea: due to the favorable currents, the oil has been prevented from reaching the Atlantic Ocean.

As the months have passed by and the gushing well has been stopped, many journalists and media coverage centers seem to have forgotten about the most damaging oil spill accident in the history of the United States. Yes, the well has been blocked but public opinion needs to remember that the problems haven’t yet been solved. Professional and financial aid is still need in order to limit the damages and save what is left of the wildlife.



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