The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is regarded as one of the largest environmental disasters in American history. On 20 April 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico, 205.8 million gallons of oil contaminated the gulf of Mexico. A total of 11 people killed and 17 injured. According to the Center for Biological Diversity “the spill likely harmed or killed about 82,000 birds of 102 species; about 6,165 sea turtles; as many as 25,900 marine mammals.” Even though oil spills can have some positive effects, they should be taken care of by oil companies because it causes environmental, social, and economic impacts to the world.
Oil spills can severely harm plants and animals in the ocean. Ph levels (Salinity) are distributed, air and water can be polluted, and more.This can be seen whenever oil rings or machinery malfunction, break, or are not treated properly, making the oil leak and spread into the environment.Marine life and coastal life can be harmed through poison by ingestion which sometimes is ingested through their gills. It’s also important to note that when there are oil spills in the ocean or freshwater, it does not help with the water. The oil floats and eventually it spreads out into a very thin layer across the surface of the water (called a slik).
In the same way that oil spills affect marine life, it can also affect people. The effects of oil spills on humans way be direct or indirect, it depends on the type of contact with the oil spill. Direct exposure can occur to people that live close to the spill and where they may come in contact with it. This can happen by breathing polluted air or by direct contact with the skin. Indirect exposure can happen to people that live farther from the spill but may still be affected by it. Whether its by bathing in contaminated water or by eating contaminated food. People who clean up the spill are the ones at more risk. Even though not much is known about the long-term effects, it is still dangerous since it can cause skin and eye irritation, and breathing problems.
Yet another reason as to why oil spills should be taken care of is how much oil spills cost the economy. For example, the cost incurred by clean up activities, serious economic losses happen to the oil industry itself, and also other businesses that also contribute to the economy, such as tourism and fisheries sectors. It would only be right for the oil company who caused the spill, clean it up. This however, sets back the company, making it loose money, and affecting the economy. As for tourism, holiday makers may decide to go somewhere else for vacation when they hear about the spill causing tour operators and potentially their suppliers to suffer losses. Oil spills cause serious damage to fisheries. Because of the contamination, stocks are affected and disrupted which, again, businesses and our economy.
Even though oil spills can be harmful, they do bring some positive effects.According to Kinder Morgan ‘Pipeline spills can have both positive and negative effects on local and regional economies, both in the short- and long-term,’she continues by saying, ‘Spill response and cleanup creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and cleanup service providers.’ By this reasoning, communities everywhere should hope for natural disasters to strike — since the rebuilding might create some temporary employment.
All in all, oil do have some positive affect, however, oil companies should be responsible and take care of them because of all the environmental, social, and economic impacts it has on the world.