In a world that runs on oil and a country that still largely depends on it, more oil spills will happen within the U.S. The recent Deepwater Horizon spill is an extreme example of the damage that the oil industry can cause the environment. Not just the water and wildlife are impacted by the massive accidental spill; livelihoods took a major hit in areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
A journal called Environmental Pollution recently published a study that argues how not even the so-called cleanup efforts in cases like Deepwater Horizon are clean. In fact, the scientists behind the environmental study suggest that the science used to supposedly clean up the oil leaves behind a toxic substance that adds just another, more toxic threat to the wildlife within the water.
In trying to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf, substances called dispersants were used. Basically, the stuff is supposed to separate the oil from the water it’s spilled in and more easily allow people to remove the oil. Scientists insist, however, that it might look like the oil is cleared out of the water, but the dispersants that are used to separate the oil don’t get fully removed from the water and make for a toxic environment wherein an entire food chain is likely to be significantly impacted.
The oil industry poses enough danger to the environment. If the processes used to clean up oil spills are toxic themselves, then there is work to be done and new processes to be discovered. The quality of the water and the lives of the wildlife within it depend on people’s willingness to recognize environmental hazards and seek for a better way.
Source: Oil Price, “Dispersants Make Oil Spills 52 Times more Toxic,” Joao Peixe, May 5, 2013