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Implications of BP Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico

Described as one of the greatest environmental challenges in current generation, the British Petroleum oil spill has come not only at the wrong time for the Obama Administration, but has also severely impacted negatively on the economies of states around the Gulf of Mexico. Critics point out that it could take years to ascertain the exact estimate of damage this environmental disaster has inflicted on the economy and the ecosystem around the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana, which is the closest state to the Gulf of Mexico, has its 400 mile coats line severely polluted by floating oil. This essay seeks to specifically analyze the impact of BP oil spill that was triggered explosion of Deepwater Horizon rig on April 20th, 2010. Towards this, the BP oil impact will be analyzed in regards to its impact on fisheries, wildlife, tourism and shipping.

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The impacts of oil spill have always been catastrophic (ASTM Committee, 1984)1. Fisheries, tourism and shipping are some of the economic activities along the Gulf of Mexico that have been hardest hit by the environmental disaster caused by BP oil spill. This has necessitated the United States government to declare a fishery disaster in the surrounding waters. According to Venice, Gorman and Pascal (2010)2, “the U.S. government has declared a fishery disaster in the seafood-producing states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama due to the oil spill which makes them eligible for federal funds to offset the impact on fisherman and their communities of the oil pollution in their fishing grounds”. This means that the fisheries department has been negatively affected by the oil spill to a very large extent. This is more worrying because the affected state of Louisiana is responsible for more than a third of the United States seafood supply. In addition to the above, it employs thousands of US citizens either directly or indirectly. This issue is buttressed by Venice, Gorman and Pascal (2010)3 in stating that “Louisiana’s $2.4 billion seafood industry supplies up to 40 percent of U.S. seafood supply, employs over 27,000 people and is the second-biggest U.S. seafood harvester and the top provider of shrimp, oysters, crab and crawfish”. This demonstrates that the effect of BP oil spill has denied the United States its primary source of sea food, led to massive loss of employment opportunities and has finally led to massive losses of revenue that is estimated to be in the range of billions of dollars.

One aspect of the ecosystem that has been greatly affected by the BP oil spill is wildlife. The BP oil spill has not only triggered an imbalance in the existing ecosystem but has also made the affected regions completely inhabitable to a sizable percentage of wildlife. Some of the wildlife reserve areas that that have been affected include the “Breton National Wildlife Refuge in the offshore Breton, Chandeleur Islands, and the Pass-a-Loutre refuge further to the south” (Smith, 2010)4. In addition to the above, the states have lost a large number of wildlife due to the environmental pollution precipitated by the oil spill. This estimate is perhaps presented best by Venice, Gorman and Pascal (2010)5 in stating that “over the 40 days since the spill started, wildlife officials report that 491 birds, 227 turtles and 27 mammals, including dolphins, have been collected dead along the U.S. Gulf Coast, according to an update released on Sunday by the oil response unified command”. Sharks as well as eels and turtles have been reported to have been sported dead and floating on water surface (Weise and Rice, 2010)6. This environmental disaster has therefore robbed us a good percentage of some of our prized wildlife species. The extent of the damage to the existing wildlife cannot be estimated but is ultimately expected to rise in the coming future. The greatest concern to scientists remains the unknown and unseen effects of the oil spill to the underwater marine life and environment.

Tourism operators as well as restaurants and hotel owners have all reported sharp decline in business due to the effects of the oil spill. This has been precipitated by the scare of tar balls spotted along the Florida key beaches. The tourism industry has thus lost millions of dollars due to the decline in business. The loss to the state of Florida due to decline in tourism is illustrated by Venice, Gorman and Pascal (2010)7 in stating that “Tourism is its economic lifeblood, its largest industry, generating $60 billion in spending from more than 80 million visitors a year, bringing in 21 percent of all state sales taxes and employing nearly 1 million Floridians”.

Last, the impact of BP oil spill has dealt a big blow to the shipping industry. This is because very critical shipping routes have been closed and the numbers of delays caused by the oil slick are on the rise. These shipping lanes are the lifeline of the United States’ export and imports. In addition to the above, the cost of shipping has escalated by the mandatory inspections and decontaminations before entering ports. In conclusion, the impacts of BP oil spill have been demonstrated to affect the environment the economy and have led to losses of thousands of employment opportunities.

Bibliography

  1. ASTM Committee. Oil spill chemical dispersants: research, experience, and recommendations: a symposium. New York: ASTM International, 1984.
  2. Venice, Biggin, Gorman, Steve and Fletcher, Pascal. Factbox: Gulf oil spill impacts fisheries, wildlife, tourism. Reuters. 2010. Factbox: Gulf oil spill impacts fisheries, wildlife, and tourism. Web.
  3. Weise, Elizabeth and Rice, Doyle. How bad could BP oil spill get for the Gulf and the nation? USA Today. Web.

Footnotes

  1. ASTM Committee. Oil spill chemical dispersants: research, experience, and recommendations: a symposium. New York: ASTM International, 1984.
  2. Venice, Biggin, Gorman, Steve and Fletcher, Pascal. Factbox: Gulf oil spill impacts fisheries, wildlife, tourism. Reuters. 2010. Factbox: Gulf oil spill impacts fisheries, wildlife, and tourism.
  3. Venice, Biggin, Gorman, Steve and Fletcher, Pascal. Factbox: Gulf oil spill impacts fisheries, wildlife, tourism. Reuters. 2010. Factbox: Gulf oil spill impacts fisheries, wildlife, and tourism.
  4. Smith, Dee. The Impact of BP’s Oil Spill on Travel to Florida. 2010.
  5. Venice, Biggin, Gorman, Steve and Fletcher, Pascal. Factbox: Gulf oil spill impacts fisheries, wildlife, tourism. Reuters. 2010. Factbox: Gulf oil spill impacts fisheries, wildlife, and tourism.
  6. Weise, Elizabeth and Rice, Doyle. How bad could BP oil spill get for the Gulf and the nation? USA Today.
  7. Venice, Biggin, Gorman, Steve and Fletcher

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 11). Implications of BP Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/implications-of-bp-oil-spill-in-gulf-of-mexico/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 11). Implications of BP Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico. https://studycorgi.com/implications-of-bp-oil-spill-in-gulf-of-mexico/

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"Implications of BP Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico." StudyCorgi, 11 Dec. 2021, studycorgi.com/implications-of-bp-oil-spill-in-gulf-of-mexico/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Implications of BP Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico." December 11, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/implications-of-bp-oil-spill-in-gulf-of-mexico/.


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StudyCorgi. "Implications of BP Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico." December 11, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/implications-of-bp-oil-spill-in-gulf-of-mexico/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Implications of BP Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico." December 11, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/implications-of-bp-oil-spill-in-gulf-of-mexico/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Implications of BP Oil Spill in Gulf of Mexico'. 11 December.

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