Bearing the Responsibility for Oil Spills
In the wake of human-caused disasters, it is not uncommon for society to place blame on the causative agent as well as providing suggestions and ideas on how similar disasters could be avoided in future. One of the most prevalent and notorious human-caused disasters is the spillage of oil in large water bodies. The gravity of this calamity is unquestionable – it causes fire hazards, thus affecting human communities while threatening the survival of marine ecosystems (Walker, 2015). Nonetheless, oil spills receive insufficient attention as the impacts on humans are mostly indirect.
The spillers often shoulder the blame when these disasters occur. However, from an ethical point of view, some of the most liable stakeholders in the event of an oil spill are national and local authorities, as well as agency regulators. This is due to the fact they have the power to influence the corporations that are often responsible for oil spills. It is important to note that oil spills are responsible for adverse socio-economic, cultural, and psychological impacts on communities that depend on marine resources. As such, the fishing industry, as well as community residents residing near water bodies, would do everything in their power to stop oil spills from occurring.
At the same time, the media in conjunction with NGOs, and scientific researchers have a mandate to raise awareness on the need to protect natural resources. These key players ought to collaborate in informing the public of the wide range of risk factors associable with oil spills. With this awareness, the public can influence lawmakers to enforce stringent policies aimed at ensuring that corporations alienate oil spill incidents. In sum, stakeholder engagement should occur at all levels to pave way for a well-defined purpose aimed at achieving desirable outcomes (Resnik et al., 2015).
Resnik, D. B., Miller, A. K., Kwok, R. K., Engel, L. S., & Sandler, D. P. (2015). Ethical issues in environmental health research related to public health emergencies: Reflections on the GuLF study. Environmental health perspectives, 123(9), A227.
Walker, A. H. (2015). Oil Spills and Risk Perceptions: A Stakeholder Engagement Model to Address Evolving Needs. Available at: http://oilspilltaskforce.org/wp- content/uploads/2015/08/Oil-Spills-and-Risk-Perceptions-AH-Walker-SEA-Consulting- Group.pdf