Oil Spills Essay

1364 words - 5 pages

Oil Spills: It will happen again Imagine that you are a just a small, ordinary seabird. It is March 24, 1987 and far away from you is an enormous tanker called the Exxon Valdez, coming at an astonishing speed. You do not worry, for these huge ships come along very occasionally in the Alaskan waters. The next thing you know when you turn around is that something wrong. The tanker is heading towards Bligh Reef, which is a mass of granite pinnacles. It crashes into the reef and something black, thick and disturbing leaks out of the ship into the beautiful waters of Prince William Sound. Your attention suddenly turns to a fish shimmering in the waters. Without hesitation, you snatch it up and gulp it down. As you're busily eating, you notice that you're covered completely with this mysterious black substance. 11 million gallons of this black substance is everywhere and it is continuing to spread and spread. You see thousands of other birds with the same problem. You try to fly, but your wings are too heavy. You flap and flap but it is hopeless. Sinking to the bottom of the beautiful waters, you wonder what that sticky black killer was. It's simple. It's crude. It's oil.This scenario is nothing but a harsh reality that most people were unconcerned about until the disaster of the Exxon Valdez. The Valdez spill, tragically unnecessary though it was, has served as a laboratory for scientists, in which they can study the effects of oil pollution and experiment with new cleanup methods. It has also served as a costly lesson in the pitfalls of petroleum shipping and the shortcomings of emergency plans. It is time for us to learn from such an expensive lesson, and learn the horrid truths behind oil-spills; its cause, its effect and its solution.When most people hear the words oil-spill, they picture the wreck of a huge tanker like the Exxon Valdez. But not all oil-spills happen this way. Some are the result of mistakes made by crewmembers as some are caused by mechanical failures. Most of it, however, involves human beings and their daily transportation of petroleum. But crude oil was gushing into the environment long before humans existed. The first oil spills were produced by nature itself. We can't stop nature and put an end to oil-spills, but we can most certainly prevent man-created oil-spills like for example, the Exxon Valdez. Believe it or not, the Exxon Valdez's captain, Joseph Hazelwood had been drinking during the sailing of the Valdez. Because of his bad habit, millions of animals had to sacrifice their lives and because of his little mistake, billions of dollars were wasted to clean up his mess.As the Time magazine: Officials destroy Alaskan animals to help nail Exxon, pg. 36 quotes, "¡¦when tested several hours after the incident, his blood showed that Hazelwood had been drinking." As we learn from this expensive lesson, it is crucial that the consequences of human carelessness are stricter and stronger so that this would not...

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