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Exxon Valdez essay

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Introduction

Midnight oil On March 24, 1989 at 4 minutes past midnight, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Alaska's breath-taking Prince William Sound. Instantaneously the quiet waters of the sound became a sea of black as 10.9 million gallons of crude oil spilled into the ocean. Oil spills pose a terrible threat to our lands waters, and wildlife. As was learned from the Exxon Valdez disaster, when land, water, and wildlife are affected, people are affected as well. This paper will discuss the impact of the disaster on five groups of people, the cleanup and explain the events of the disaster. On March 24, 1989, in Prince William Sound Alaska, the Exxon Valdez was moving South West after leaving Port Valdez. The ship was carrying over fifty million gallons of crude oil. When the Valdez was only twenty-eight miles from the port, it ran aground on Bligh reef. The bottom was ripped open, and 10.9 million gallons of North Slope Crude Oil spilled into the frozen Alaskan waters at a rate of two hundred thousand gallons per minute. Within hours, smaller tanker vessels arrived in order to off load the remaining oil. Unfortunately, the cleanup effort was hindered by an inadequate cleanup plan that had been created during the 1970's. ...read more.

Middle

The studies of sport fishing activity and tourism indicators e.g. vacation planning, visitor spending, and cancelled bookings all indicated decreases in recreation/tourism activity. The contingent valuation study estimated the lost passive use value at $2.8 billion. Their was a 9.8 percent decrease in sport fishing trips made in 1988 to 1989. Residents of Cordova Despite the facts that oil never actually licked the shores of the serene seaside town called Cordova, It is thought to be the hardest hit by diminished fishing. Before the spill Cordova was not only a seaside paradise but a secure form of income, employment and leisure. People who lived in Cordova for recreation, leisure and scenery no longer see a future in the town. Families who once walked the beaches at low tide scooping up clams and oysters for dinner now buy groceries instead. The community has suffered economic and social turmoil. Studies show domestic violence has increased 118.3% and the number of arrests increased 123.6%, the once lush population has been decreasing since the disaster. However not all is bad. On the bright side, the spill clean up has provided jobs for many unemployed citizens with a good job earning an average of $16.69 an hour, adding to a normal pay check of $1800 per week. ...read more.

Conclusion

The spill has helped show more people that we are a part of nature, not a part from it. In other words our mere survival on the planet is dependant on maintaining a healthy natural environment. If we destroy nature we destroy ourselves. The native Alaskan villagers are clearly living with nature. At the top of the food chain they are very aware of the devastation a major oil spill can have on their very existence. The Managers of large corporation's such as Exxon, operating out of offices in their urban jungle, too removed from the natural world, are perhaps less aware. They are after all less directly affected by oil spill disasters. However, in the long term, the tragedy is, I believe, that their 'ignorance' will catch up on all of us. Oil spills maybe best summarized by this....so long as there are ships, and humans steering them, accidents will happen, and maybe huge ones. Much is to be said on the cause and effect of the Exxon Valdez oil spill but since we cannot turn back time to correct our mistakes; we must see the brighter side of every picture and learn from our mistakes. The oil spill was an environmental nightmare that changed not only Prince William Sound, but the world. No longer will people blindly believe promises from corporations that their operations are completely safe. ...read more.

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