The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Effects on People and Livelihood

The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Effects

Background facts

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the largest oil spill disaster to ever have occurred within the petroleum industry. Also referred to as the Deep Horizon oil spill, Macondo Blowout and BD oil disaster, this accident occurred in 2010 and claimed the lives of eleven crew of the Deep Horizon Oil Rig.

Experts state that after the explosion of the oil rig, crude oil flowed for 87 days throughout the location leading to varied economic, environmental and social impacts within the region. It is estimated that 4.9 million barrels of crude oil leaked in the area between 20th April 2010 and 15th July 2010 before BP was able to contain the problem. Given the massive amount of oil spillage in this disaster, there have been huge impacts experienced from this disaster.

Major effects

Some of the major impacts that the Gulf of Mexico Oil spill had on people include:

  • Health problems. There have been many reports regarding poor health of many people following the oil spill incident. In fact, the state of Louisiana recently stated that there have been 71 cases of oil spill-related sicknesses. The fishermen and many people leaving nearer the beaches have to cope with the strong smell of the crude oil. This has led to several complaints of headaches, nausea, vomiting and other related symptoms for people within and in nearby locations. Experts also state that toxicity levels of the air and water are at high levels and the actual impacts on the health of inhabitants are likely to worsen.
  • Tourism decline. The locations surrounding the disaster have always been a popular tourist destination. Before the disaster many tourists visited the sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Tourism related activities such as hotel and other service industries were major sources of income for the inhabitants of this area. However, this changed after the disaster because the beaches were soaked with crude oil and declared to be inhabitable. In addition to this, many hotels were closed because of their close proximity to the beaches as well as sharp decline in number of tourists.
  • Fisheries and related industries decline. Fisheries is said to have generated revenue of up to $2.4 billion given the fact that the Gulf of Mexico produced most of the seafood sold in the US markets. The disaster changed this because most of the fishes and sea creatures were killed during the oil spill. This rendered many people jobless because their major source of income had been destroyed by the oil spillage disaster. Dolphins, shrimps, fishes and sea turtles amongst other sea creatures were killed and continue to be destroyed as a result of the Deep Horizon oil spill disaster.
  • Social amenities destroyed. Beaches and other social amenities have also been destroyed in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. This disaster has also reduced the quality of life along the affected areas with many people breathing in toxic air.

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