The eyes of the United States and other countries are focused on what is going to happen to the coastlines of possibly Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, following the terrible oil spill created by an explosion that occurred on Transocean Ltd.’s Deepwater Horizon platform on April 20th. There were approximately 126 persons on the rig at the time of the explosion. Several were injured and eleven persons are still missing and presumed dead.
British Petroleum, the lease operator of the Macondo/Mississippi Canyon #252 oil well, is fervently trying to control the oil that is spreading through the Gulf of Mexico. On Sunday, May 2, BP began drilling a relief well to intercept and isolate the oil well. On Saturday, May 8th, a 40’ x 24’ x 14’ containment dome was lowered into the seabed around the leaking well, and was to be connected to a specialist vessel on the surface to receive as much of the oil as possible. This method had been used in shallow water; however, when tried in the more than mile deep water, it failed. The United States Coast Guard has performed controlled burns and deployed booms along the coast. Department of Defense aircraft has also sprayed chemicals to treat the oil in the water. Some 260 ships, such as barges, skimmers and recovery vessels are being used to collect oil from the sea surface.
BP is working with government agencies and relief organizations to ask for and train volunteers to help with the clean up on the coastlines. A contractor from Louisiana began preparing volunteers in all aspects of the clean up. There will be three levels of training, from one 45-minute session to 4 hours. Volunteers are classified as unpaid volunteers, paid volunteers, and specialized personnel. This is becoming an economic and environmental disaster. According to Everyday Wildlife Champions, only trained experts should touch oiled wildlife. The International Bird Rescue Research Center is taking part in the rescue of sea birds.
Residents of Alaska are re-living memories of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill that devastated the fishing industry and economy in the Prince William Sound area of the state. Almost one-fifth of the 54 million-gallons of oil cargo that the Exxon Valdez was carrying spilled into the water, when the ship hit Alaska’s Bligh Reef. In the coming days, we will share more information on the recovery efforts that were made, and the long-lasting effects of that tragedy.
If you want to help, get in touch with one of the leaders in a community you live near. It is important that you have the proper safety gear to protect yourself if you are working in or near polluted water. Be sure you have on hand: sunscreen, gloves, protective clothing, safety glasses or goggles, and respirators.
For those who don’t live in these areas, there are many other ways to help, by donating to organizations that will assist these residents and the wildlife that will surely be affected.