Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
Seven Maids With Seven Mops - Sierra Daily
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Contact Us

March April 2014

Read the latest issue of Sierra

« You Get What You Pay For | Main | A Coaled Day in Hell »

Sierra Daily

Aug 17, 2010

Seven Maids With Seven Mops

NPR's "Morning Edition" reported yesterday on the amazing shrinking cleanup crews deployed by BP in the Gulf Coast following the capping of the Macondo well: from 46,000 on July 12 to 14,000 a month later. Oil gusher stopped so problem solved, right?

 That seems to be NOAA's approach On August 4, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that "The vast majority of the oil from the BP oil spill has either evaporated or been burned, skimmed, recovered from the wellhead or dispersed -- much of which is in the process of being degraded."


(For larger version click here .)

Not so fast! say researchers at Georgia Sea Grant and the University of Georgia. Their study concludes that "up to 79 percent of the oil released into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon well has not been recovered and remains a threat to the ecosystem." The discrepany between their estimation and NOAA's comes down to the latter's optimistic assumption that all that "dispersed, dissolved or residual" oil has just gone away and won't trouble us again.

“One major misconception is that oil that has dissolved into water is gone and, therefore, harmless,” said Charles Hopkinson, director of Georgia Sea Grant. “The oil is still out there, and it will likely take years to completely degrade."

While we're waiting for that degradation, the oil will presumably continue to wash up n the Gulf Coast's previously pristine beaches. According to NPR, BP is now deploying a device called a "Sand Shark" that scoops up sand and sifts it, sorting out the tar balls. "In a 5-minute run, [project leader Kevin] Seilhan says, the Sand Shark has cleaned more sand than 100 people could in three hours."


Do you suppose," the Walrus said,

"That they could get it clear?"

"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,

And shed a bitter tear.

--Paul Rauber

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top