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Long term effects of an oil spill on the environment and the economy

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The Exxon Valdez oil spill.
  3. Most significant effects of an oil spill on the environment.
  4. The potential effect of the oil spill on marine life.
  5. Economic effect of an oil spill.

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. [...]

[...] But more than the effects of the oil spill on marine and terrestrial life, few realize that the effects of water pollution could go beyond the immediate coast. In fact, the aftermath of the oil spill could affect the health of the people living in the area surrounding the incident. One primary concern is food safety. Alaskans living near the incident of the oil spill in Prince William Sound were advised not to consume any of the dead animals that wash up on the shore as these are contaminated and could probably lead to poisoning when consumed. [...]

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