Guest post by Intern Lena Lane!
On April 20th, 2010 an explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon oilrig radically changed the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico. It also changed the lives of all those along the coast who saw their shrimp and oyster catch disappear, the wetlands die, and the thick slick of oil causing sickness in their towns.
A mile underwater, around 185 million of gallons of oil began pouring out of the damaged rig, uncovered for 86 days. This disaster killed 11 workers. And, according to the National Wildlife Federation, more than 8,000 birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals were found injured or dead in the six-month period after the spill. Today, there are still concerns about the long-term effects of the sometimes mile-long plumes of oil still deep in the ocean.
Although it has been said that the Gulf of Mexico is recovering the truth is a huge dead zone has formed near the mouth of the Mississippi and the wetlands on the Louisiana coast rapidly shrunk in size by around 2,000 square miles. Health concerns have also arisen from the use of dispersants- chemicals that break up the oil so that it would sink to the bottom of the ocean. High levels of ethylbenzene, a byproduct of using dispersants, have been found in the blood of those near the spill. In fact, a three year-old boy who visited the Gulf Coast had at least three times the normal level of ethylbenzene in his blood, an organic hydrocarbon toxic in large quantities. Other components of the crude oil and dispersants such as benzene and Xylene were found in the blood of those close to the spill. These components are known to be cancer-causing agents. However, most of their long-term effects on human health are still unknown.
Although the BP oil spill has largely disappeared from the media, this tragedy set off a movement that continues to unite people regardless of economic status, ethnicity, and political affiliation. This movement is called Hands Across the Sand.
Individuals in 42 nations across the world will join hands on June 25th this year to take part in a peaceful demonstration supporting the efforts of those who are still cleaning up the BP oil spill as well as condemning the dangerous oil extraction process that caused it. The event is also a means of showing support for a cleaner future and greener energy.
To be a part of this event in Austin, arrive at the Pfluger Bridge on South Lamar Boulevard at 11:30am.
To take part in the Corpus Christi event go to Mcgee Beach on Shoreline Dr. between the Holiday Inn- Emerald Beach and the Seawall.
If you are near South Padre Island please meet at Beach Access No.21. For more information please visit http://www.handsacrossthesand.com/.
Come out and show your support!