The Gulf of Mexico oil spill

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The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is regarded as the worst environmental disaster in the United States. It persisted for three months since April of the year twenty ten, often termed as the biggest unintentional marine oil spill. It spread over the Louisiana coastline and affected the marine ecosystem, involving Open Ocean and coastal habitats. These host various species such as corals, planktons, sea grasses, mangroves, fishes, mollusks, turtles, and shrimps among others. It acts as nesting ground for turtles and seabirds.

The spill arose from an oil gusher in the sea bed. B.P was identified as solely responsible for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and therefore, was held responsible for cleanup to try manage the spill. It resulted to eleven people loosing their lives while seventeen more others were injured. Efforts to stop the gushing oil seemed fruitless until the spill reached close to four point nine million crude oil barrels. The leakage was managed through inserting a cap on the gushing wellhead (Farrell, 2011). Following then spill, various environmental issues arose which included threatening the marine life as fishes e.g. dead dolphins as well as ecological aspects as tourism and wildlife habitats. Shrimps were also affected adversely by the tar. Besides, the grass in the marsh was dying while the crude oil was noticed offshore in deep sea floor as well as onshore on the sandy beaches of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.

To manage the issue, containment booms, skimmer vessels, anchored blockade, sand-packed barricade as well as dispersants were employed to safeguard the marshland, beaches as well as estuaries. Remote underwater equipments were used to close the well-head valves, which proved futile. Consequently, they used a containment dome, which did not work due to formation of methane hydrate crystals, which obstructed the top gap. Fortunately, the containment cap was replaced with a functional one, which stopped the leakage following the closure of blowout preventer valves (Scholastic, 2010). Nuclear physicists also weighed on the options of applying convectional explosives to clog the well but this was risky mission since any failure would make the other options useless. The strategies aimed to contain the oil on the surface, dilute and prevent it from moving to susceptible regions and eventually clean it up. Containment boom and the sand blockade were used to prevent further spread of the crude oil to more sensitive areas since it naturally dispersed via storm, osmosis and ocean currents. Chemical dispersants were crucial to enhance microbial oil digestion. To clean the oil from water, it could either be burnt, filtered, collected or administer genetically modified microbes to consume the oil (Farrell, 2011).

Although deep leakages and warm water in the Gulf of Mexico prevented great damage to the environment, the toxicity and oxygen exhaustion led to more damages. This posed a threat to national parks as well as over four hundred species that inhabit the region. More so, the turtles, birds, mollusks, fish, marine mammals and crustaceans died and became contaminated as a result. Besides, tourism sector was devastated, leading to heavy economic losses being incurred in the Gulf coast. The cord-grass marshland in south Louisiana was essential as nurseries for young shrimps, breeding for blue crabs as well as a blockade to calm down the waves. Following the spill however, the grass died. The spill was timely on hatching & rearing season for alligators and shrimps, which caused them to get deep into the water in search of food, further worsening the situation (Scholastic, 2010).

The Gulf Oil Spill relates to the Saint Leo core values of respect and responsible Stewardship. Respect involves value for unique talents that persons are gifted with, appreciation for diversity and united efforts to interchange ideas, learn and coexist harmoniously. Consequently,  the gulf spill called for the efforts of environmentalists, the government, nuclear physicist and other scientists who united their talents to come up with a lasting solution to curb the spill, minimize environmental effects and in cleanup efforts. Individuals involved in such efforts particularly in the cleanup had to endure health hazards for the welfare of the marine environment and the society at large. Responsible stewardship involves appreciating the great resources bestowed on us hence, resourcefulness is vital for the benefit of entire society. The resources at our disposal aided in drafting a long-term solution to the environmental disaster and to safeguard the ecological biodiversity. Such a spirit was able to generate a solution to manage the disaster for the benefit of all humans and the marine ecosystem.

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