For most people the BP debacle in the Gulf of Mexico, has become a case of “out of sight out of mind.”
BUT – as the Tampa Bay Times reports, “Three years after the worst environmental disaster in US history, new research from the University of South Florida (USF) finds that the oil that spewed into the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon disaster killed off millions of amoeba- like creatures that form the basis of the gulf’s aquatic food chain. ”
How did that happen?
BP used 1.8 million gallons of
a dispersant called Corexit
(which it definitely did not) to turn the well oil into globules and hide at least 200 million gallons of gushing black oil under the surface of the ocean.
And we’ve since learned that Corexit increased the toxicity of the oil by 52 times! Do you really think BP didn’t know this would happen?
The marine food chain has been totally compromised. Genetic mutations have been found in many species and this will only get worse, with much of the Gulf becoming no more than another ocean dead zone.
For three years now, dolphin deaths in the Gulf of Mexico have been well above average, and if you know anything about dolphins and whales, you might feel that they give their lives to try and tell us how badly we are polluting their part of the world – the oceans that cover two thirds of the planet, but which we use as a dumping ground for everything from nuclear waste to plastics to pesticides to oil and Corexit.
Believe the hype about tourism picking up around the Gulf if you wish – for those who relied on the gulf fisheries for generations, the future has become very bleak. Meanwhile, BP is in court arguing that many of the spill-related compensation claims are frivolous – which means it will try forever to avoid responsibility for the worst man-made disaster in US history.
Like the leaking nuclear waste from the Fukushima-Dai-ichi power plant in Japan, it’s a disaster that won’t go away. If anything, in both cases the after-effects will only get worse.
However, in the case of oil, we know that there are microbes that actually eat the stuff. But what if those microbes mutate, what if they somehow alter the chemistry of the oil wherever it is around the planet? What if oil suddenly becomes unusable because it cannot be refined?
Wrecked shell of the Transocean oil rig, the Deepwater Horizon, as it burns and sinks into the ocean April 22,2010 photo by Arnold Itkin