How Oil Spills Affect the Ecology of a Region

Oil spills have a great negative effect on the ecology of a region. The oil spill immediately permeates throughout the region and attaches itself to anything it touches, including sea creatures, bird life, coral and rocks, shorelines and sand, and ocean floor beds. The result is contamination of every aspect of a region’s life, health and beauty. The devastation is long-reaching with current and future implications. Oil spills destroy a region’s tourist industry, which adds to the financial distress to profit margins, local employment, and blackens the region’s reputation.

In addition to the bio-hazard, there will be a huge financial cost to the region and the element of time will play an integral part in determining and minimizing the ultimate damage to the ecosystem, but once the spill occurs the prognosis is not good for the ecosystem. The clean up is a tedious and long-term process that never completely purifies the region. Many sea creatures and other wildlife will be killed due to the hazardous chemical nature of crude oil. Most of the sea beds in the immediate region of the oil spill will become contaminated and it will disrupt the future supply of fresh oysters, clams, shrimp, fish and other marine life.

The oil spill will create an imbalance of the fragile ecosystem and it will take generations for all matter and life to regenerate. Many creatures and vegetation will die from poisoning and asphyxiation. Many more may become mutated and alter life in the region. In addition to negatively effecting plant and animal life the oil spill will have a major impact on adjacent industries. It will affect scuba diving and snorkeling, seafood restaurants, surf boarding, water skiing, motor and sail boating, swimming, life-guarding, hotel residency and many more businesses will suffer financially for an indeterminate range of time.  Many businesses will not be able to hang on and will ultimately fail, causing more of a depressed local regional economy.

Depending on the severity of the spill and pending the ability to contain it along with the loss of life and damage to business the governors of adjacent states may be required to declare a state of emergency, which would require federal monetary emergency funds and government services to help the devastated area to reestablish itself. It will be a long haul to recovery and it will affect home and business values for many years to come.