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Environmental Effects of the BP Oil Spill

BP Oil Spill
by

Aayush Goyal

on 31 August 2013

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Transcript of Environmental Effects of the BP Oil Spill

BP (British Petroleum), the third largest energy company, provides over 80 countries with products such as petroleum, natural gas, motor fuels, and aviation fuels. BP produces an estimate of 3.5 million barrels of oil per day.
Introduction
On February 2010, a plan was designed by the oil company to drill 5,000 feet below sea level with the Deepwater Horizon Rig. This plan was only supposed to last about a month; however, they continued drilling. This led to an accidental blowout on the Rig, which caused the riser that was used to pump out the oil to collapse.
To prevent this event from occurring again, BP has better prepared their engineers to deal with such situations. They have also developed better strategies for oil drilling with advanced technology.
Quick Facts
How did this happen?
Future Prevention
Our Environment
Heating a liquid in a test tube
After so much oil was pumped from the ground, the riser eventually developed various holes. BP employees merely covered the holes with cement, thinking it would stop the leaks. Eventually, the riser could not sustain the pressure of the methane gas in it and it blew up.
Why did this happen?
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is continuously monitoring the marine animals while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to monitor the air, water, sediment, and waste generated by the clean-up operations.
On April 20th, 2010, one of the worst
human environmental disasters occurred.
The BP Oil Company caused a massive oil spill
in the Gulf of
Mexico, releasing
an estimate
60,000 barrels of
oil that stretch
over 130 miles
long and 70 miles
wide.
The oil spill altered the food webs, species death rate rose, habitats were destroyed, water was polluted, fish and wildlife populations decreased, and a great mass of toxicity was exposed to the environment. These are also long-term effects that result in biodiversity loss.
After the oil spill started, 8,000 wildlife animals were found dead by November. Many birds had oil coated feathers, which caused them to loss their buoyancy and the ability to regulate their body temperature. Some mammals ingested the oil, which led to ulcers and internal bleeding. Marine animals, land animals and deep-sea corals were dying, which led to a change in the ecosystem.
400 different wildlife species were
threatened by the spill. This included
birds, foxes, deer, and amphibians. Of
those 400, 30 were bird species.
This was one of the worst anthropogenic
environmental disasters in history.
From the 200 million gallons of oil, only 11 million gallons were recovered.
The BP oil spill may have affected areas of Europe due to the tides moving East from the Gulf.
Even though the gushing well was capped in July 2010, oil is still washing up on shores, which can do long-term damage.
BP still to this day has criminal charges and may continue to have them for
the next couple of years.
By: Aayush Goyal
Thanks For Watching!
Species Affected
Affect on Carbon Cycle
Since phytoplankton act as the backbone of the marine ecosystem, their death will most likely have a profound impact on the carbon cycle, because many of the animals at the sea floor where oil plumes are located convert detritus and waste that trickles down from the surface to energy and nutrients, returning them to the carbon cycle. Without these organisms, waste and other nutrients would be lost, and begin to accumulate on the sea floor, making huge kill zones.
Affect on Nitrogen Cycle
Due to the loss of many aquatic and marsh-land animals, nitrogen composition levels rose in the area. Because nitrogen-fixing bacteria and denitrifying bacteria are common in areas of stagnant water, the high atmospheric level of nitrogen could not be used by plants. The loss of these bacteria prevented the nitrogen to be fixed, which in turn affects the nitrogen cycle.
Affect on Water Cycle
Ironically, the BP Oil Spill does not have a very huge affect on the water cycle. Oil on water limits evaporation, thus reducing natures recycling system. Considering the small water area covered in any known occurrence, the moment in time creates a totally unrecognizable blip on the world's water cycle.
Predator-Prey Relations
Predator-Prey Relations were deeply affected by the BP Oil Spill because the basis of the food chain, phytoplankton, was in great decline. Examples of these relations affected are jellyfish to plankton, baleen whale to zooplankton, and dolphin to squid. The most important reason of why the BP Oil Spill was so damaging is because of its affect on plankton, which resulted in a downfall of the entire food web.
Symbiotic Relationships
A common symbiotic relationship affected by the BP Oil Spill is cleaners for fish. Small fish or shrimps known as cleaners who get into the mouth of bigger fish with mutual agreement through change of color and clean inside the mouths and gills without being eaten; The cleaners as they are known benefit by feeding on the cleaned parasites from the bigger fish. However, the BP Oil Spill killed numerous fish as well as their food source, plankton.
Succession
The BP Oil Spill was an example of Secondary Succession due to the fact that salt marshlands still had a sufficient amount of soil for small grasses and shrubs, unlike the effect of a severe flood.
Bibliography
Tinsley, Sayaria. "Response/clean-up technology research & development and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill", Washington, D. C. : National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon OIl Spill and Offshore Drilling, 2010.

Pictures Courtesy of World Environmental Photography. Retrieved 9/24/12
"World Socialist Web Site." BP Spill Threatens
N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2012. <http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/may2010/envi-m07.shtml>.
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