Disastrous oil spill has damaged biodiversity

This letter sent to the Star was written by Graham Wroe, Glencoe Road, Sheffield, S2

By Diana Stannard
Tuesday, 07 May, 2019, 09:46
Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Neville Martin’s Star letter of May 6 should be taken as seriously as a Boris Johnson promise on the side of a bus. A quick Google of the Deep Water Horizon disaster shows it has caused long-lasting problems.

Oil residues have altered the basic building blocks of life in the ocean by reducing biodiversity in sites close to the spill, which occurred when a BP drilling rig exploded in 2010, killing 11 workers and spewing about 4m barrels of oil into the Gulf. Researchers took sediment samples in 2014 from shipwrecks scattered up to 93 miles from the spill site to study how microbial communities on the wrecks have changed. Scientists found biodiversity has flattened throughout the area. The oil spill is just one example of how people are destroying our planet and the amazing abundance of creatures we have on it. In a report released today the United Nations have found that over one million species are in grave danger of extinction.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

450 of the world’s leading scientists have warned our society is in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth’s natural life-support systems. This is the most thorough planetary health check ever undertaken. Corporations are destroying our forests, overfishing and polluting our seas, poisoning our land, ruining our soils and using our atmosphere as a giant chemical waste disposal unit. Nature is being destroyed at a rate ten to hundreds of times higher than the average over the past 10m years, according to the UN global assessment report. The world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things. Yet since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of the plants, while livestock kept by humans abounds.

Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion are quite right to tell us to panic as if our house is on fire. Governments and our own Council need to start taking emergency action now.