Free Gulf Oil Spill Essay Sample
In April 2010, an oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. This resulted in the spread of oil over a large sea surface after the explosion of the oilrig, Deep Water Horizon. This oil spill is the worst case of the sea contamination which was caused by faulty oil drilling equipments considering its adverse effects on the surrounding environment. The faulty containment structure of the oil drilling companies entailed the burst of the structure and the onset of contamination. The oilrig was also operating three times more the normal capacity, it means that the situation was in disregard to the stipulated guidelines. Extensive pollution and environmental damage occurred after the oil spill. The sea and the atmosphere became full of dangerous chemicals normally present in the unrefined oil. When oil spills on the sea surface, it endangers marine life by covering the surface and causing the suffocation of the sea creatures. The poisonous chemical substances present in the oil kill marine life and cause the sea creatures mutation. The oil slick movement to the beaches contaminates them with dangerous chemicals. The oil contamination continues to spread to the nearby beaches making them unfit for human use (Miller & Whelan, 2010).
The evaporation of chemicals from the crude oil had filled the atmosphere with a significant degree of air pollution. The burning oil from the rig had also released harmful gases into the air. The oil leaking from the seabed further compounded the fire problem. However, the extinguishing of the fire did not occur immediately. Thus, it burned some of the oil on the sea surface. This was to alleviate the direct danger posed to marine life by the oil on the sea surface.
The pollutants from the oil spill are primary pollutants. The black oil covers the sea and methane affects the sea chemistry, thus interfering with the sea life ecology. The most significant and immediate effects of the primary pollutants are the mutated forms of the sea life that sailors and anglers have discovered. Another significant effect of the pollution is that some people living near the sea, and who often frequent these areas, have suffered various ailments associated with the chemicals from the oil spill. Both the emitted gases and chemicals from the oil spill are primary pollutants since they directly affect the sea and land life in their original forms. The oil spill could have long-term effects on the sea life, human sailing, and other sea uses. Dissolved chemicals are likely to make the seawater around the well uninhabitable for most sea species for decades. Some endangered sea species could become extinct if the oil spill manages to change the composition of the seawater for long.
In the atmosphere, the carbon dioxide released from the burning fuel could raise the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide. This will add to the existing and rising greenhouse activity in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide also reacts with ozone gases depleting the ozone layer, which protects life on the surface of the Earth from the ultraviolet sun’s radiation. Hydrogen sulfide and nitrogen oxides are other common atmospheric pollutants. Atmospheric moisture dissolves the potent gases to form an acidic solution, which corrodes metal surfaces. The acid may also alter the soil PH over a long time (Miller & Whelan, 2010).
Atmospheric pollution by primary pollutants was also evident. The oil evaporation from the ocean surface put a considerable volume of organic matter into the air. This organic matter drifted to the nearby human populations causing lung problems and other respiratory complications such as the respiratory tract irritation. Furthermore, organic matter and nitrogen compounds reacted with the lower atmospheric layer to produce heavy smog. Evaporated petroleum and carbon particles form smog in case of an oil spill. The relevant authorities are undertaking various means of preventing the petroleum minerals from spreading and becoming inextricably integrated into the environment. In order to eliminate some of the oil from the sea, oil was burnt off the sea surface. Although effective to a significant degree, the burning also resulted to increased atmospheric pollution. Dispersants are being used to breakdown the oil into decomposable organic substances. However, the sea life is absorbing some of the simpler organic substances into the food chain. In addition, the employment of skimming facilitates the collection oil and contaminated water from the sea surface.
Since the accident in the Gulf of Mexico, the United States Government has limited oil-drilling missions by private companies. New laws also require the assessment of the company’s degree of concern for the environment when evaluating the licensing of oil drilling activities.
By estimation, the world is set to run out of oil within the 21st century, as the demand for petroleum products increases, that is why the drilling and prospecting for oil becomes more intense. If the oil demand is constant for the next century, then the oil fields will produce a significantly small volume of oil so that it will be impractical to rely on oil to support the world economy. The depletion of oil without a viable alternative source of energy would be a catastrophic end for the human civilization.
If I were to find a solution for the impending oil crisis, I would turn to nuclear energy. A small volume of nuclear matter could provide more energy than the world would ever need (Miller & Whelan, 2010). The application of nuclear energy has proved to provide electricity for domestic and industrial application at a significantly low cost. However, nuclear energy has to be controlled and contained for health and world security reasons.