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On April 20, 2010, the largest marine oil spill in history occurred. Now, the effects of this are still prevalent, even 12 years later. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, also known as the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, was caused by an explosion. The rig was 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana before sinking two days after the explosion.
Source: Smithsonian Channel/YouTube
Sadly, the oil spill has had a devastating effect on the marine life in the area. Over 210 million gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days. It spanned over 57,500 square miles, harming many animals as it progressed. Today, the impact is still being felt.
In 2018, blood tests were taken on the dolphins in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. Unfortunately, these tests showed changes in the animals’ genes. These genetic changes explain some of the reproductive, lung, and heart issues bottlenose dolphins have had since the spill.
Lead researcher from the National Marine Mammal Foundation, Jeanine Morey wrote, “Differentially expressed transcripts included genes involved in immunity, inflammation, reproductive failure, and lung or cardiac dysfunction. All of which have been documented in dolphins from Barataria Bay following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”
She explained, “These conditions were primarily diagnosed through hands-on veterinary examinations and analysis of standard diagnostic panels. With further research, biomarkers may be developed that can provide critical health information to wildlife veterinarians, researchers, managers, and other stakeholders, even in the absence of full veterinary assessments.”
In one of the worst environmental tragedies in history, millions of sea animals were killed. Even now, marine life is struggling to resurge its population. Still, all ecosystems are being impacted from fish and turtles to coral and sea grass. The slick blocked sunlight from reaching marine life in the area. This, along with the ingestion of the chemicals, greatly impacted the development of the animals. Dolphins and whales have been seen washed ashore, frequently with lesions in their lungs due to exposure to crude oil. Despite the oil spill happening over twelve years ago, it continues to affect aquatic animals and is likely to still be affecting them in the future.
Help prevent suture oil disasters by signing this petition that is asking the Biden administration to end offshore drilling.
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