Despite these effects, however, the response of most people to oil spills is one of passing curiosity. The media may provide extensive coverage of the disaster, but few people would react to an oil spill the same way they would react to news of a hurricane. Certainly, the fact that oil spills rarely result in the loss of human lives could be a factor in this situation. An oil spill, no matter how disastrous for the environment, does not have a chilling death toll of human lives. Few realize that apart from its impact on the environment, an oil spill also has significantly negative economic effects.
[...] This destruction can be seen in the effect of the oil spill on the birds and marine life that reside near or in Prince William Sound. First, the effect of the oil spill on the area's bird population was devastating. As mentioned earlier, an oil spill affects not only the water it pollutes; it also affects the surrounding atmosphere due to the evaporation of its noxious fumes into the air. Immediately after the Exxon Valdez tanker started leaking, an approximate 4,463 water birds died in the surrounding area. [...]
[...] One of the most significant effects of an oil spill on the environment is the destruction of sensitive habitats. In the Exxon Valdez incident, the oil spill spread throughout Prince William Sound and into the Gulf of Alaska in just five days. The swiftness of this spreading can be attributed to the environmental conditions of the spill. The incident occurred in “high latitude in a semi-enclosed body of water at the beginning of spring” (Skinner and Reilly p.24). As such, the environmental situation conspired to increase the speed of the spread, hence the significant area covered by the spill in just a few days time. [...]
[...] The effect of the oil spill on the tourism industry of both Prince William Sound and Guimaras is devastating. It goes without saying that a decline in the industry translates to less jobs and income opportunities for locals who rely on tourists and travelers for their livelihood. Clean-up costs are another economic setback caused by an oil spill. Certainly, the company responsible for the leaking tanker must take charge of the clean-up costs in reducing the environmental effects of the oil spill. [...]
[...] As discussed, the effects of the oil spill on the environment are largely long-term. Though immediate deaths may seem undesirable yet passing results in the aftermath of the oil spill, the truth is that the effects are not as immediate as they seem. The potential effect of the pollution on the surrounding marine and terrestrial life could remain hidden for years to come, and may resurface in the future. The disruption to the food chain affects not only the plant and animal life in the area of the oil spill it will certainly affect the people living in the surrounding area as well. [...]
[...] In fact, since the death toll in an oil spill consists mostly of otters and reefs, few people see it as a serious “tragedy”. However, this study showed that the effects of an oil spill may be more long-term than any other. The truth is that an oil spill does not only leave immediate effects that cause deaths among marine and terrestrial life in the affected region. It leaves a lasting mark that significantly damages the environment. More importantly, the damage to environment is merely the tip of the iceberg. [...]
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