The Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico
The oil spill currently taking place in the Gulf of Mexico is as a result of the sinking and explosion of a rig of oil in Mexico’s gulf. Ever since the spill started, it has had a worrying trend as it continues spreading in the ocean and most of the efforts aimed at containing the spill are being met with severe difficulties. Since the original accident took place, the slick of oil has grown tremendously in size thus spreading across a huge area of the surrounding ocean.
The lighter oils such as gasoline are being spread further compared to the heavier ones. Due to the fact that the oil spill has already taken a couple of weeks, it has already started having negative impact; environmentally, socially and economically. As the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues, these impacts are likely to become even much severe and heavy costs will be incurred (Baram, para 3). Impacts of the on going oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico The marine environment in the Gulf of Mexico has been hit hard by the ongoing oil spill in the region.
When oil spilled in the Mexican gulf, it first spread over the water surface thus covering large areas of the ocean. The spread of oil on water largely depends on the oil’s composition and relative density. The oil slick that have been formed in this gulf has at times remained cohesive, but has in some instances been forced to break up especially during periods of rough seas. Ocean waters, waves, wind and currents have in some occasions forced the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico to drift over extended ocean areas.
This has significantly impacted on the neighboring coastal areas, open oceans, and terrestrial and marine habitats falling in the drifts’ path (Riat, para 5). Even though currently the shoreline has not significantly been affected by the spilling oil, it is feared that the oil spill may reach the shoreline and cause devastating negative impacts. If the oil waste eventually finds its way to the coast or shorelines in the Gulf of Mexico, it will interact with several forms of sediments like vegetation, gravel, beach sand, boulders and rocks, and terrestrial habitats to both humans and wildlife.
Such interaction may bring about erosion in addition to contamination. Water, waves, wind and currents are likely to move the spilling oil onto the shores of the Mexican gulf with the tides and surfs (THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION, para 6). The oil that is spilling in the Gulf of Mexico contains organic compounds that are volatile. They will therefore evaporate partially and lose a significant portion of their mass and hence become more viscous and denser. In addition, there is a small portion of oil that is mixing with the ocean waters.
The residue of oil is capable of dispersing invisibly in the ocean waters or forming a mousse that is thick with the ocean waters. Some wastes of oil may eventually sink with particulate matter that is suspended, while the rest hardens into tar balls that are sticky. All these wastes forming from the spilling oil in the Gulf of Mexico will have devastating effects to the marine environment. The quality of the ocean waters will be lowered and thus all the marine life depending on it for their survival will be affected severely (Baram, para 9).
One of the major activities that has been severely affected and will continue to suffer significantly as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is tourism. Thousands of tourists visit the Gulf of Mexico every year to relax and see the beauty offered by the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding areas. However, due to the oil spill that is taking place in this particular gulf, very few tourists if any are willing to tour the area. The quality of water has decreased dramatically thus making it difficult for tourists to have a good view of most sceneries they used to watch in this gulf.
The marine wildlife forms a significant attraction factor for the tourists touring the Gulf of Mexico. However, the pollution resulting from the oil spill has reduced the number and variety of marine wildlife inhabiting the region. The tourists thus have very few if any marine wildlife to watch in the Gulf of Mexico (Riat, para 11). The oil spillage in the Gulf of Mexico is causing a lot of water pollution in the area. The water pollution has significantly affected the availability of fish in the ocean waters of the Mexican gulf.
The fishing grounds have thus been greatly affected as their capacity of holding fish has significantly been impaired. The fishing industry has been adversely affected by the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Apart from making it hard for fishing to take place in the Mexican gulf waters, the oil spill has also reduced the number of fish inhabiting the area. As a result, the level of fishing activity in this gulf has decreased sharply ever since the oil spill started (THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION, para 3).
The impacts arising as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are severe and this has made several people, organizations and governments to come up with the best means of controlling the oil spill in order to curb the impacts. One of the methods for controlling the oil leakage that has been proposed is capping the Mexican gulf oil leak through the use of a dome made of steel. This method is expected to contain the leakage of the oil by channeling it through the dome thus reducing its contact with water. Floaters are also being used to prevent the floating oil from spreading into large areas of the ocean.
The main aim of this method is to contain the floating oil by restricting its movement (MMX, para 1). Conclusion The ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is one of the largest oil spills that have ever taken place across the entire globe. All the oil emanating from the spill is finding itself into the ocean waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The mixing of oil with water has had very adverse effects on the environment surrounding the Gulf of Mexico. Marine life has been greatly interfered with as their natural habitats continue to be destroyed by the spilling oil.
Economic activities such as tourism and fishing have also been affected significantly by the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Even though several efforts are being undertaken to contain the oil spill, little success has so far been achieved. The oil spill thus continues to pose severe environmental and economic danger to the Gulf of Mexico. Work cited: Baram, Marcus. Gulf Oil Spill: Government Regulator Downplayed Environmental Impact of Spill, 2010. The internet newspaper, Retrieved on 3rd June 2010 from, http://news. yahoo. com/s/huffpost/20100503/cm_huffpost/561646.
MMX. Plan to cap Gulf of Mexico oil leak with dome delayed, 2010, BBC NEWS, Retrieved on 3rd June 2010 from, http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/8680460. stm. Riat, Shekhar. Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill 2010 – Environmental Impact, 2010, Apex News Network, Retrieved on 3rd June 2010 from, http://apexnewsnetwork. com/21910/gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill-2010-environmental-impact/. THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION: FACTBOX-Possible environmental impact of Gulf oil spill, 2010, Reuters, Retrieved on 3rd June 2010 from, http://www. alertnet. org/thenews/newsdesk/N28185887. htm.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 10 October 2016
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