The Affects of Oil Spills
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Jaquelin HerediaProfessor Santosh KhadkaEnglish 114B22 April 2015The effects of Oil Spills in the OceanI. IntroductionThroughout history the public has witnessed several disasters that affected our oceans one of them are oil spills. I will be researching in particular the effects oil spills had on the ocean and how an oil spill affects the way of life in the ocean as time passes. In particular some of the more current oil spills that caused a major amount of damage were oil spills that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and the oil spill that occurred in Cosco Busan Bay area in 2007. These two oil spills were large and horrendous that caused a major amount of damage to the ocean. Over the years people have slowly forgotten of the large pollution we had dumped into the ocean after the oil spills occurred but in order to understand if the problem is gone or not I will do research that tells how the ocean has evolved since the accidents occurred. The ocean has been able to rid itself of the majority of the oil but due to the large amount of oil the water was exposed to the way of life in the ocean may never be the same.II. BackgroundOn November 7, 2007 in the San Francisco Bay Area a container ship known as the Cusco Busan was in the harbor and had struck a support tower that was part of the Bay Bridge. The collusion caused the ship to lose 53,569 gallons of fuel. This incident was the biggest incident to have ever occurred in the San Francisco Bay area. Soon after the incident it was discovered that the company that was responsible for the container ship was Regal Stone Limited and Fleet Management Limited. In order to restore damages to the city and also to help support the wildlife that was also affected by the collusion the companies settled to pay the San Francisco area approximately $44.4 million dollars. This is a picture of the cargo ship after it spilled the gallons of oil into the harbor.
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is known as one of the worst due to the millions of gallons that were able to escape on the ocean floor. On April 20th, 2010 there was a massive explosion that caused a huge oil cargo ship to sink in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico,11 people were killed because of the accident and approximately 3.3 million of gallons of oil were spilled into the ocean. Soon after officials discovered that oil was spilling into the ocean floor and unfortunately they were unable to cap the well till 87 days later causing a major amount of damage. Soon after the oil was contained and the officials were able to survey the amount of damage government agencies and larger oil companies began to invest their efforts into containing the problem. They helped in protecting the beaches and putting out boons to protect ecosystems near the contaminated area. The cargo ship, during the crisis that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico.
III. The effects of the oilAs time has progressed no one has been able to decipher how the ocean has progressed after the oil was dumped into the waters. After the accident in the San Francisco harbor the large company that was responsible for the damage payed over $4 million dollars in order to help repair the damage both to the structures and to the wildlife affected. Now in 2015, almost 8 years later the people have seen that the waters seem clear and have established a new ecosystem but they cannot determine if it will ever as it once was before the oil spill. The same outcome has occurred in the Gulf of Mexico after the tragic incident that involved an explosion, the death of 11 individuals and the release of 4.4 million gallons of oil into the ocean. Now five years after the tragic incident the BP oil company, the company that was responsible for cargo ship that was involved in the incident, published a video that was meant to promote the way the waters have cleared up and they have been dedicated to helping the surrounding businesses that were affected by the accident and the ecosystems that were damaged. Their most famous line was, They are dedicated to helping those who were affected by the accident and to helping American established a better living. The link to watch video promoting the BP Company and the change they have established for the Gulf of Mexico and Americas is down below.https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=20&v=hoOfIR4Vk1oIn order to really uncover the health of the ocean I uncovered different internet sites that demonstrated some the life that has evolved over time since the incidents. Some of the examples were related to the birds that surrounded the harbor. Soon after the incident occurred the officials tried to keep the wildlife away from the contaminated areas but as seen in the picture above on the left they were not always very successful. In the Gulf of Mexico the pictures were a lot more graphic since the amount spilled was a lot greater. For example, three years ago people began to believe that the Gulf of Mexico had pasted some of the darkness that come over the area since the oil spill had occurred but scientists were unable to hold up that faade since they discovered that some of the larger animals in the sea were still dying from oil contamination. Some of these animals were dolphins as seen in the picture to the right scientists were seeing them die in large numbers and they were all due to oil contamination that was still in the water.Dolphin found on the beach from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.Bird that was found covered in oil in the waters near San Francisco.
IV. Field TripsIn order to get a first look at some of the animals that have been saved and to gain information of some of the experts that had witnessed some of tragic outcomes caused by ocean contamination of oil I visited the Aquarium of the Pacific located in the Long Beach area. This aquarium is equipped a biodiverse amount of animals and birds and houses a large world-wide Molina Veterinary Hospital that helps to establish the health of all recovering or sick animals and birds. I visited the aquarium and discovered that a few of the Sea Otters had been survivors of oil contaminations but had not been seriously contaminated. The employee did go on to explain that it had been in his fur and if it had reached any internal organs it could had been fatal for the small otter. By making this field trip I was able to really understand how fragile the small animals are how they are unaware of the events that happen among them. The second place I visited in order to gain more insight on how the marine life can be affected by the oil I visited the Marine Mammal Care Center which is located in the San Pedro area near the harbor. The site focuses on helping on the health of Sea Lions in the Los Angeles Harbor and sometimes they have several Sea Lions that arrive and have very bad systems due to large amount of traffic that goes on in the Harbor. My visit was not that successful since most of the Sea Lions that have been housed in the center have never really been affected by oil but some of the employees at the center were able to give me more insight on the oil may have affected the seals if they had been exposed to it. I was able to learn that for sea lions having any oil exposure could be fatal since they enjoy to sun bathe and go for long dives in the water, therefore they would not last very long if they were covered in oil.The two field trips allowed me to really see how effected the marine life was when the oil was released into the water. The oil was able to wipe large amounts of ecosystems and even after several years the large mammals were still dying due to contamination since these large ecosystems were wiped out in an instant. These ecosystems are barely beginning to rebuild themselves today. For example the coral reefs that were once in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico can never be recovered because once they die it is very hard to help grow a new one. V. The effects on the Human PopulationThe human population was also greatly affected by the oil spills both in the San Francisco area and the people around the Gulf of Mexico. In San Francisco business near the water were losing customers because the public wanted to stay away from the contaminated waters. The harbor was also surrounded by large boons that prohibited the public to come close to water under any circumstances but unfortunately this did not prohibit the public from see the dead animals that were being washed ashore. The Gulf of Mexico had a similar problem to the one in the San Francisco Bay when it came to businesses the area that had once been a tourists are that attracted many visitors became a hazardous area that people began to avoid. The waters around the shore were closed to the public but there were several events that occurred that involved a person finding a dead or contaminated animal that had washed ashore due to the large amount of oil in the water. People who were not near the Gulf of Mexico were also affected by the problem that was caused by the large oil spill. The people owned a vehicle at the time. During the time of the accident Gas prices rose to about $6 which angered many individuals that had large vehicles that required gas more than once a week. If there had been a person that was not informed of the incident they would begin to discover the news because they were questioning the high prices for gas. The high gas prices were due to large amount of money that was lost due to the spill of oil determining the prices that the public then needed to pay due to the loss.VI. ConclusionAs I researched the topic a little more and discovered that a variety of people have noticed that the life in the contaminated areas have been restored I have also noticed that this is a subject that cannot be taken as something of the past but to better help be prepared to prevent accidents such as these in the future because it can just as disastrous or worst. For example in a journal article by Taylor and Francis it tells how people see this accident as something that took place in the past but the article does give a clear understanding of how the oil killed off many ecosystems and though they are now becoming restored the crisis should be something that helps prevent incidents like those in the future.Oil comparing the oil spills that occurred in San Francisco and the one that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico it helped me to understand how fragile life is in the ocean and how small accidents can create severe consequences. San Francisco was able to receive compete compensation for the major damages that occurred in the water and thought the oil did cause damage to the wildlife in the area they had the necessary funds needed to help protect the birds and sea life that were affected. On the other hand the Gulf of Mexico was a larger area and it affected not only the sea life and the oceans it also affected hundreds of people that lived near the waters. The incident in the Gulf of Mexico is still trying to be resolved and though the storm is over you can clearly still see the affects. Oil spills are only one example of the large negative events that we can cause to our environment if we do not take the necessary precautions to prevent them from happening.
Works CitedAmadeo, Kimberly. "BP Gulf Oil Spill Economic Effects." N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.Farrington,JW. "OIL POLLUTION in the MARINE ENVIRONMENT II: Fates and Effects of Oil Spills."Environment, 56.4 (2014): 16-31."Gulf Oil Spill."Smithsonian Ocean Portal. Web. 15 Apr. 2015
"Spill Closes Bay Beaches as Oil Spreads, Kills Wildlife."SFGate. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2015."$44 Million Natural Resource Damage Settlement to Restore San Francisco Bay After Cosco Busan Oil Spill Response.restoration.noaa.gov. "Response.restoration.noaa.gov. Web. 15 Apr. 2015