Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

  • IASbaba
  • September 8, 2021
  • 0
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Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

Part of: GS Prelims and GS- III –  Environment 

Context Clean-up crews and the US Coast Guard are trying to locate the source of an oil spill spotted in the Gulf of Mexico after deadly Hurricane Ida.

  • Recent satellite photos by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed the slick about two miles (3km) off Port Fourchon, Louisiana.

What is the source of the spill?

  • The source of the miles-long oil spill was believed to be in the Bay Marchand area of the Gulf of Mexico.
  • It appears to be coming from a source underwater at an offshore drilling site
  • Damaged pipelines in the Bay are possible reasons for the spill.

Gulf of Mexico 

  • The Gulf of Mexico is an ocean basin and a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, largely surrounded by the North American continent.

What is an oil spill?

  • An oil spill refers to any uncontrolled release of crude oil, gasoline, fuels, or other oil by-products into the environment. 
  • Harmful effects of oil spill
    • Oil spills can pollute land, air, or water.
    • It prevents sufficient amounts of sunlight from penetrating the surface.
    • It also reduces the level of dissolved oxygen.
    • Oil-coated birds and marine mammals may die from hypothermia
    • Ingested oil can be toxic to affected animals, and damage their habitat and reproductive rate.

Cleanup of Oil Spill: 

  • Containment Booms: Floating barriers, called booms are used to restrict the spread of oil and to allow for its recovery, removal, or dispersal.
  • Skimmers: They are devices used for physically separating spilled oil from the water’s surface.
  • Sorbents: Various sorbents (e.g., straw, volcanic ash, and shavings of polyester-derived plastic) that absorb the oil from the water are used.
  • Dispersing agents: These are chemicals that contain surfactants, or compounds that act to break liquid substances such as oil into small droplets. 
  • Biological agents: Nutrients, enzymes, or microorganisms such as Alcanivorax bacteria or Methylocella silvestris that increase the rate at which natural biodegradation of oil occurs are added

News source: IE

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