While oil is an absolutely essential component of our everyday lives, offshore drilling poses a number of serious threats to the environment and the population in general. Because of the fact that rigs now drill deeper than ever before, the environment and its delicate ecosystems are at even more risk of being irreversibly disrupted and destroyed.
Destruction of Ecosystems and Wildlife
Pipelines and highways are needed in order to transport oil from the wells to the refineries. These often stretch over long distances and have been known to disrupt animal life and ecosystems which are in their path. As a result, the natural habitats of many animals are destroyed in the process. These oil production pipelines affect their natural migration routes and patterns. This can result in the loss of wildlife, especially for those who breed during their migration season. An additional factor to consider is the fact that a toxin known as PAH is released from oil wells. Studies have shown that this compound has been known to cause cancer in animals.
Among the biggest concern for the drilling companies is that of accidents which result in oil spills. Not only does this result in lost revenue for the oil companies, but the effects that the spills have on surrounding wildlife can be devastating. Once a spill has occurred, it normally results in millions of gallons of oil being leaked into oceans and other waterways. It pollutes and destroys the sand which many fragile organisms live in. Cleaning up an area that has suffered the after effects of a spill can take months or sometimes years. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the ecosystem will ever recover fully after a spill because entire species can be eradicated due to the after effects of an oil spill.
Disruption of the Earth’s Natural Seismic Patterns
Researchers and oil companies make use of sonic wave technology to locate new spots for drilling. Unfortunately, this is also the technology that many sea creatures rely on in order to navigate and communicate with each other. Research has shown that the sonic wave technology used for locating new oil fields can severely disrupt the lives of these sea creatures. This is possibly why there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of whales and dolphins which have beached themselves, often for ‘no apparent reason.’ The disruption that is caused to their migration patterns can also lead to further imbalance in what is already a very delicate ecosystem.
Many people have started wondering if the benefits of drilling for oil are worth the risks that it poses to the environment. Although oil is an extremely important component of our everyday lives, the time may have come to seek out safer and cleaner alternatives to this rapidly dwindling fossil fuel. Not only will it ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for everyone concerned, but it may also result in the rapid decline of outrageously high oil and fuel prices.