Thursday, 27 January 2011

Consequences Of The Gulf Oil Spill For The Caribbean Islands

The life and the economy of many Caribbean countries depend to a great extent on tourism and fishing. The sea is a main source of food and a vital part of their culture and economy. Without clean, safe waters, Caribbean life is greatly compromised. Today their existence is at stake due to the fast depleting sea life, sea ecology and pollution.
The most recent threat to Caribbean life is the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico back in April of 2010. There was an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 barrels of oil gushing out of the ruptured British Petroleum Gulf well, which was 3 times more than what was estimated initially by the government. An oil spill of this size was something impossible according to British Petroleum. Their own words from 2009 called "an accident leading to a giant crude oil spill and serious damage to beaches, fish and mammals" "... unlikely, or virtually impossible." The lesson oil companies and the rest of us continue to learn the hard way is that no off-shore wells can be considered 100% safe and secure.
To British Petroleum, it was a loss of profits and, to some extent, their reputation. But for the Caribbean islands it continues to be a critical situation. It was reported that the oil slick at one point was the size equivalent to the area of the state of West Virginia and was fast approaching southern USA coast and spreading along Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama & Florida. The Mississippi river was covered over a mile with the oil slick and this was just the start.
The Shell oil spill in Barbados and the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska have shown that life along the coasts which took the brunt of the oil spill suffered for decades as the sea life in these coasts was totally destroyed. A similar catastrophe hovers around the Caribbean today. President Obama's administration declared a national emergency and deployed the military to get into action to do whatever was possible to help the situation. There was nothing more anyone could do. For quite some time to come, the Caribbean islands are sure to feel the repercussions of this disastrous spill.
There will no doubt be both direct and indirect impact of the spill felt by the Caribbean nations as well as the Gulf coast states for quite some time to come. Among the direct impacts of the crude oil that have been observed and documented so far is to the birds in the area. The effects of the crude on their plumage, at the very least, causes a severe reduction in their body insulation. This makes them vulnerable to temperature changes and makes them less buoyant. It also affects the bird's flight abilities and makes them easy food for predators.
The water plants and the inner flora and fauna have been affected badly due to the oil slick because of the screening effect which reduces Sun light and thus photosynthesis ability. The other sea life that depends on these submerged flora and fauna die because of the non-availability of food or the health hazards caused due to the intake of the pollutants.
The devastated coasts, beaches and sea life have a drastically negative effect on the lives of the people of Caribbean. The human error is beyond human repair for the foreseeable future. For the inhabitants of the Caribbean nations, they can only hope that the effects of the spill do not bring about the total destruction of fisheries and tourism along the thousands of miles of their coastlines.
Anjul S. Hazaam is a freelance writer who helps entrepreneurs promote their projects. His latest focus is on a terrific site about finding the best Bed Linens Online. There's great information including an article on Boys Bedding Sets.