How To Clean Up Oil Spills. Eat Clean Meal Plan
Oil Spill! (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2)
Did you know that an oil spill occurs somewhere in the world almost every day of the year? Berger and Mirocha focus on one of the worst spills in history—the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill—to explain in simple terms and with bold, full color illustrations why oils spills happen, how experts clean up after them, and what effect spilled oil has on ocean plants and wildlife. "A good introduction to the subject."––BL.80% (18)
1994 "Pick of the Lists" (ABA)
Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children 1995 (NSTA/CBC)
An Obscene Photograph
I am sure that many readers will be offended by this photograph. I admit that it is obscene. The image has not been tampered with in any way: I have not cut and pasted pictures of motor vehicles from some other context. These people really are buying petrol from a B.P. service station in Oxfordshire, as if nothing has happened. Meanwhile, a further 19, 000 gallons of oil will have polluted the Gulf of Mexico throughout the course of today. Presumably, the people in this photograph are not ignorant enough to be unaware of this. Perhaps they think this grotesque act of environmental terrorism is justified in the name of economics, and they really don’t mind handing over their money, as if in vindication of the deed. No, that wasn’t hyperbole. It is terrorism: an act of violence that intimidates the whole world. B.P. knowingly and undemocratically built an oil rig in an environmentally sensitive area, holding the entire ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico to ransom, and it did so without due consideration of how it might respond should things go wrong. When the inevitable happened (and it is inevitable that things will go wrong with oil rigs, if you have enough of them), the corporation derided the world by cynically trying to plug the leak with golf balls and bits of old tyre. Its chief spokesman admitted that the company does not have the “tools” in its bag to deal with the spill, whilst wistfully hoping that something miraculous would happen to stop it, so that he could “have his life back”. He didn’t bomb a bus, or fly an aeroplane into the World Trade Centre, because he lacks the ideological conviction of the people who do such terrible deeds. His corporation’s form of terrorism is more indiscriminate, more impersonal, and it is inspired not by conviction, but by greed. Perhaps the people in the photograph do not think this. Perhaps they think that capitalism is always justified in the pursuit of greater and greater profits, no matter what the human and animal cost. If this is the reason they are still buying from B.P., I have no further argument with them: they are simply monsters, and I cannot expect to understand them. More likely, I suspect, they have just not thought about it. They probably didn’t even notice the B.P. insignia as they drove in: it’s just another service station. But is it not a source of shame to them that the biggest environmental disaster in history is presided over by a company of British origin, even as they fly St. George’s cross from their wing mirrors in anticipation of the World Cup? Don’t they feel a rising bilge of horror as they hand over their cash payment for the filthy stuff they have just poured into their vehicles? Is there not even a twinge of conscience? They might feel differently if they had ever handled an oiled seabird. I have done so, and can affirm that crude oil is the stuff of nightmares. You put on rubber gloves, and robe yourself in plastic in order to avoid being smeared with the noxious stuff yourself: it dissolves cell membranes and causes mutation and cancer. Wearing the gloves makes the bird twice as slippery in your hands as it telescopes its neck to look at you, its agonized eyes bulging from its sleekly blackened skull. The webbed feet flail madly, then weaken. The stench nauseates you. The oil clogs the bird’s nostrils, and every feather is welded to the next, plastered with black clag. The feathers must be washed and rinsed individually, and the gunk never quite disappears. After the hideous process is over, the bird’s chances of release remain minimal. In all likelihood, it has swallowed some oil, and will die, spewing the stuff from both ends. If not, it will take months for the feathers to regain their natural waterproofing – achieved when the bird preens after touching its beak to the uropygial gland at the base of its tail – and if it were left afloat on the ocean, it would simply sink and drown, or die of hypothermia. To handle one such case is heartbreaking. Imagine how many birds are affected, at 19, 000 gallons a day. That is only the beginning. The Gulf of Mexico is home to twenty-eight species of marine mammal including the manatee, three species of dolphin and six species of endangered whale. It has five species of threatened or endangered sea turtle, innumerable species of fish including the endangered smalltooth sawfish, threatened staghorn and elkhorn corals, and myriad marine invertebrates that form the base of the food chain. At the top of this food chain, human beings are also suffering, although some (people whose livelihood lies in the Gulf itself) are more worthy of compassion than others (B.P. shareholders, for example). Perhaps people will recognise their own vehicle registration plates in this picture. Probably, they will try to justify their actions: “This could have happened to any oil company; they are all as dirty as each other, but I have to get to work.” By privatiziLimitations
In keeping with his daily custom, my father sat down in his dark, paisley-print, oversized chair and asked if it was time for the 5 o’clock news. I am all-too familiar with this script, and was already making my way to the television set a mere moment before he asked. Standing before the screen, I leaned over and squinted, searching for the black oval power button embedded in the veneer of black plastic. Upon pressing it, the screen lit up in white static, and I spent the next few moments searching for the remote and fumbling with its awkward controls until the cable receiver settled on channel eleven. Glancing back, I locked eyes with my father. Comfortable in his chair, he smiled and acknowledged me with a nod. Moments later, I settled into my own, comparatively austere seat, and reached for an anthology of early American historiography. I found myself again searching for a number–this time on a page, rather than a television–and soon found one of Eric Foner’s essays on American slavery and the Civil War. In silence, I began to study. While I read, my father stared intently at the television screen. As he watched and listened, news anchors gave their updates on the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – the consequence of an explosion aboard a British Petroleum oilrig just two weeks ago. Spilling an estimated five thousand barrels per day, the slick crept steadily outward. Volunteer and personnel efforts to contain the spill were slow and ill equipped, he learned, and it was likely just a matter of time before the polluted gulf waters reached the mouth of the Mississippi. Twenty-one years ago, my father witnessed a similar disaster. As a few of you know, for most of his career, he made his living as a shipping agent and spill remediation officer for the corporation responsible for the present catastrophe. He worked and lived in Valdez, Alaska for the better part of the 1980s. By 1989, when the Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground on Bligh Reef, just outside of Valdez, my father and my mother had already left the state, and were busy raising a family in Cleveland, Ohio. I clearly recall my father’s horror at the devastation that the Exxon Valdez’s roughly eleven million gallons of crude loosed upon Prince William Sound. The spill and its consequences were constant topics among my parents and their friends. It devastated Alaskan wildlife, and the ability of many of my parents' friends to make a living. Twenty-one years later, watching the same situation unfold again, I saw the same fearful tic creep across his face. The tic came slower now, however, and smaller. At this time it was constrained to his eyes and a subtle downturn on the right side of his lips. His condition, some mysterious mixture of Parkinson’s and Lyme disease, renders him unable to control most of the muscles in his face. It also robs him of his ability to protect the people, places and things that he loves in the way that he used to. I detected his sadness from my modest post across the room. “This is awful,” he muttered, almost in a whisper. “This is what I used to do. I used to help clean this stuff up. I wish I could get down there, but I'm stuck. There’s nothing I can do. I feel helpless, you know? And it hurts me.” I know how he feels.
Constant media attention on oil spills has created global awareness of their risks and the damage they do. Often under-reported is the average cost of the cleanup - often as high as $200 per liter of oil spilled. Oil is a necessity in today's industrial society, and since our dependence on it is not likely to and any time soon, we will continue to have spills. This indispensable reference supplies the information required to proceed with cleanup efforts immediately.Related topics:
The revised and expanded edition of a bestseller, Basics of Oil Spill Cleanup, Second Edition provides the tools for remediating the on-and off-shore oil spills that can threaten sensitive coastal habitats. The Second Edition includes a new chapter highlighting the effects of oil on the environment and wildlife and a glossary of technical terms. After reading it, you will understand the different techniques required based on the type of oil spilled and the environmental circumstances involved in the spill.
Whether large or small, no oil spill is insignificant. They create far-reaching environmental problems -always a public relations nightmare. Don't wait until you have an emergency to go hunting for a solution. Prepare yourself - and your organization - with Basics of Oil Spill Cleanup, Second Edition.
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