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May. 27 2010 - 7:38 pm | 529 views | 1 recommendation | 2 comments

Massive new oil plume may have been caused by dispersants

A handout picture obtained on February 17, 200...

Image by AFP/Getty Images via @daylife

Scientists have discovered a massive new oil plume stretching 22 miles toward Mobile Bay, Alabama. This is the second major plume to be discovered (the first was found underwater). Ironically, dispersants, the stuff that is supposed to coagulate the oil and sink it beneath the surface of the water, may be the culprits responsible for the plumes.

The researchers say they are worried these undersea plumes may be the result of the unprecedented use of chemical dispersants to break up the oil a mile undersea at the site of the leak.

[David Hollander, associate professor of chemical oceanography at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science,] said the oil they detected has dissolved into the water, and is no longer visible, leading to fears from researchers that the toxicity from the oil and dispersants could pose a big danger to fish larvae and creatures that filter the waters for food.

Some versions of Corexit, BP’s dispersant of choice, were banned in the UK more than a decade ago because “laboratory tests found them to be harmful to sea life.” The EPA politely requested BP stop using Corexit — a request the company completely ignored — and now scientists are suggesting this stuff is actually only moving the problem, not resolving it.

I hope I’m wrong, but judging by the amount of chemicals BP is dumping along the coastline, this disaster is going to affect generations of ocean life, and possibly permanently alter the ecosystem.

The first such plume detected by scientists stretched from the well southwest toward the open sea, but this new undersea oil cloud is headed miles inland into shallower waters where many fish and other species reproduce.

Events like this can singlehandedly wipe out entire species of wildlife. The worst part is, no amount of suing BP can bring back this life, or the livelihoods of fisherman. I’m not saying that should exempt BP from prosecution, but realizing just how irreversible this tragedy is really makes the magnitude of the horror sink in.


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  1. collapse expand

    The world’s food chain is so intricately connected – this is going to impact everyone living on earth.

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