Friday, March 1, 2024

NEW DAWN – Oil can spoil


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IN THE HEYDAY of “petro-dollars” before the devaluations, Trinis boasted they would always be a financially viable country because “oil don’t spoil!”
True of oil itself and its value as an energy source.
However, the recent Gulf of Mexico big spill (accident or sabotage?) shows oil can spoil quite a lot: water, beaches, marshes, fish and other sea creatures, and the living of fisherfolk and others.
Efforts of BP to “top kill” the gusher were abortive, and effects of a massive use of a dispersant – against direct orders from the EPA – unknown. Storms in the season will push the pollution at high speeds, into rivers and overland, causing more damage from toxic water.
The nasty, thick, mud-like sludge on the surface is being collected from beaches, and packed in plastic bags.
According to NaturalNews, an online health service by Mike Adams, those cleaning up “are increasingly being sent to the hospital complaining of symptoms like vomiting, dizziness, difficult breathing . . .”.
No wonder President Barack Obama didn’t spend much time down there!
The “volcano of oil” is expected to keep releasing until August. Adams reports: “That’s when two ‘pressure release’ wells are expected to be completed . . . to siphon off the oil from underneath the ocean bed, thereby releasing the pressure that’s currently pushing crude oil out of the existing hole.”
The larger fish and sea mammals have long since high-finned it farther north. However, the smaller or sedentary sea creatures have been stuck in the muck, dying or being malformed by the deluge of oil, with 300 affected species, some perhaps moving closer to eradication.
Even if you don’t have a heart for lesser creatures, the toxic brew will rob gourmands of delights such as crab, lobster, and oysters.
Not to mention the hotels, guest houses, restaurants, boat and fishing tours and tourism-related sites all along the coast, when the plethora of officials, scientists and media leave the now temporarily occupied rooms.
The oil drift is expected to go as far as Florida. Will some of the loss of tourism from the affected seafront areas be to our gain with an increase of visitors?
The Bahamas is concerned that some of the oil is drifting in its direction, where conch eating is a national staple and a tourism attraction. Seafood and fish sold in the United States and other countries were often sourced from the gulf area before the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon rig.
Some Barbadians may ignore the ongoing environmental drama of the large oil spill – already three times that of the Exxon Valdez incident – thinking “its nothing to do with us”. However, the massive impact on sea life is being predicted to have far-reaching and global effects.
Barbados and others in the Eastern Caribbean stream should use this disaster to investigate better ways to prevent spills in our regional waters and shore up preparedness action for possible oil spills.
We depend on the sea for food, livelihoods, enjoyment, employment and business success, including tourism activities such as water sports and swimming areas cannot be overstated.
This is Environment Month and World Oceans Day is tomorrow.
 Dawn Morgan is a NATION Senior Reporter (Advertising) predicting Bible scholars will surface with sea-life dying prophesies. Phone 430-5495.


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