It's now being called the “Worst Environmental Disaster in U.S. History. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana is still pushing oil out of the broken pipe, leaking and wreaking destruction on the once-clean gulf waters.
British Petroleum, BP, is the company that owned the lease and the platform that exploded, starting the spill that has been going on for six weeks now. The hard and painful news for most of us involves pictures of a massive oil plume, stretching across the water; ugly pictures of oil-soaked seabirds and dead fish; and the knowledge that wildlife in that area will suffer for years to come.
At first, BP tried to contain the oil with booms, placing the massive sponges and blocks in the way of the plume in a painfully useless attempt to block the spread of the oil to beaches and breeding grounds of animals in the area.
Then there was the dome. BP lowered a huge dome over the well in an attempt to cap the well and stop the flow. That didn't work either.
The effort that followed was the “top kill” in which engineers tried for three days to top off the gusher with heavy drilling mud and junk to stop the leak. After initial hopeful reports, we now know that is not working either.
BP announced today that they have another plan. Their latest attempt will be to send down unmanned robots to saw off the leaky broken pipe and cap it with a funnel that will then direct the oil to the surface and waiting boats.
The company tried to reclaim the leaking oil with a funnel in the past, but ice crystals formed in the pipe and blocked the flow. Why will this attempt be different? The company intends to warm sea water and pump it into the pipe as well, preventing the formation of the ice crystals. The soonest that this could work is four to five days. Does that disappoint you?
Then this could make you despair: the company says that the gusher may not be capped until August. That news on Sunday amid the destruction, disappointment and misery that the spill has already wrought.
What can you do? Only what you have been doing. Try to think of your efforts as an “off-set credits” for the spill. Put your best efforts into greenifying at home and at work in order to off-set the huge disaster that seems to be unfolding day by day to our great disappointment. We can only do what we can do, but perhaps as a group, we can do the tiniest bit more as we watch this bitterly unhappy scenario continue in our world.