Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 31

Remember the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 which spilled 11 million gallons of oil into the waters surrounding Alaska resulting in the worst environmental disaster in US history?  Have we got another one on our hands in the Gulf of Mexico?   BP was operator of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded April 20. The rig collapsed two days later, and the oil soon began leaking. BP, working with an array of government agencies and private companies, has been unable to stop the flow of crude.I think they're stumped and have thrown around numbers like 90 days to fix it (seriously?). And it still keeps pouring. As we sleep.  Hideous.

So how do "they" clean up a giant oil spill?  Where do you start?

First of all, you have to stop the leak.  Booms are then placed around the extent of the spill to prevent it spreading.  Boats are used to skim off the oil from the waters surface.  Chemicals are injected into the water to try and disperse the oil, especially near the site of the leak where it is most intense.  Large tugboats are also deployed with fire hoses to corral the oil into an area, so a skimmer can suck it up.  Large planes are also used to drop thousands of gallons of oil dispersant chemicals onto the oil slick. Even Nature plays a part as winds break down the oil, with solids being emmulsified and dispersed.  And then you have teams of volunteers waiting on shore, trained with how to clean up once it hits the coast line, and all the ecosystems and wildlife. 

What a disaster.   It's so unnatural to mess with Nature.

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