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

1501 Words7 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.,…show more content…
Primary pollutants detected consisted mostly of hydrocarbons that were emitted into the atmosphere from evaporated or burned oil on the water surface, and nitrogen oxides, emitted by both the flaring of the natural gas and from the clean-up processes close near the spill site. Once in the atmosphere, these compounds photochemically reacted to produce secondary pollutants such as Ozone and peroxacetyl nitrates (PANs) (Middlebrook et al., 2011). Other pollutants were also detected, such as secondary organic aerosols (SOA), a product of intermediate volatile organic compounds, and soot particles, black carbon and carbon monoxide from in situ burning of oil or from the cleanup processes (Gouw et al., 2011). According to EPA (2016), air pollutants, especially fine particles (<2.5μm), can cause health risks to respiratory systems of both humans and animals. These pollutants can contribute to the formation of acid rain, damage vegetation, deplete nutrients in soil, contribute to cloud formation and affect climate, and reduce visibility. In addition, secondary pollutants can travel large distances from their point of formation, thus they can be a cause of concern for distant areas. Fortunately, as stated by Middlebrook et al. (2011), the DWH Oil spill had a limited impact on air quality due to the distance from

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

Open Document