Gulf Oil Spill

November 18th, 2010

On November 10th at our monthly meeting Barry Kaye gave an excellent illustrated talk on the Gulf Oil Spill. He explained in the most clear and concise way the complexity not only of the problem, but also of the solutions.

It quickly became clear that the human thirst for petrol and diesel driven mobility drives the demand for oil, and that if the economics are right, it will be extracted from the most inaccessible or environmentally sensitive places. The great depth of the Gulf of Mexico site produced it’s own problems, but BP was using ‘state of the art’ technology at the time. There are clearly questions about the quality of some of the technology, but we also learned that this was far from a unique case, instead it is just the latest of a series of accidents in the gulf, involving more than just the BP company.

It would seem that any idea of the Gulf spill having been ‘cleaned up’ is just a cosmetic illusion. The shores and wetlands are a very visible indication of what has been achieved there, and dispersants have removed the oil from the surface waters, but this is just a fraction of the larger impact of the spill. The less obvious but greater impact is out of sight in the mid-depth waters of the Gulf, and on the deeper sea bed. Only time will tell what the longer term impacts are on the ecology of these waters, which in turn will have an impact on surface and inshore marine life.
Gordon Fletcher.

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