Impact Of The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill During The Gulf Of Mexico On The Local Environment

1501 Words May 29th, 2016 7 Pages
CASE STUDY
IMPACT OF THE DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL IN THE GULF OF MEXICO ON THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT

INTRODUCTION
The Gulf of Mexico covers an area of 600,000 square miles and is located between Mexico, Cuba and the United States (Tunell, 2011). Home to 15,419 recorded marine species; the Gulf of Mexico boasts a dynamic ecosystem, which includes 1511 endemic species. The position of the gulf between temperate and tropical waters provides one of the reasons for its vast biodiversity (Campagna et al., 2011).

On April 20, 2010 the British Petroleum Deep Water Horizon (DWH) drilling rig exploded and subsequently sank in the waters of Gulf of Mexico. The result was the largest leakage of crude in the United States to date (Middlebrook et al., 2011). The leak occurred at the Macondo well, which was located 1.5km below sea level, and a large amount of the leaked oil reached the ocean surface (Gouw et al., 2011). On July 15, 2010 the well was finally sealed after enduring for nearly three months. An estimated 200 million gallons of oil entered the Gulf waters, as well as an unparalleled 1.8 million gallons of chemical dispersant used as a part of the cleanup operations (Mishra et al., 2012). The DWH oil spill impacted many areas, such as tourism, fisheries, economy and human health (Tunnel, 2011).

This case study discusses the effects of the DWH oil spill on the environment, in particular the effects on air quality, fauna and flora, as well as the cleanup operations used to…
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