A current, newsworthy topic that affects or may affect my life

The oil flowing out of the BP well has caused havoc on the environment of the gulf. For months, the oil has been gushing into our waters, aquatic life continues to die and suffer, communities and beaches continue with the struggle to clean up, and marshes are stained with this black gold. Families are angry and afraid, and there does not seem to be any equipment or organization that can fight this giant. I even wonder if there is anyone who still cares, but I am sure that there are many who are and will be affected. The oil spill is a grave matter that should be addressed by the government and companies like BP that have been involved in this mess.

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The Gulf of Mexico is not only the home of animal and marine wildlife, but it is also home for people like me who have been brought up on the gulf, whose way of life is sustained by this unique body of water. Most of us live in the gulf because we love the beauty and lifestyle that it provides for us for free, every day. The gulf has one of the most spectacular sunsets and wildlife that I have ever seen.

The obliteration of the deep horizon is among the most threatening scenes I have ever witnessed of an environmental disaster that is man-made. The horrifying accounts of those who were present when it happened send shock waves all over my body. I cannot envision the horror they experienced when the ship went up in flames, with massive clouds of toxic smoke and roaring flames that claimed eleven men. Yet, as days go by the oil is still spreading under and on the surface of the waters. Aquatic animals and birds are struggling to survive, and this has profoundly altered the ecosystem.

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The Oil spill threatens to cause an environmental calamity because of oxygen depletion and petroleum toxicity. Over 400 species of animals and birds that live in the marshlands and Gulf islands are in danger, with blue herons, terns, egrets, spoonbills, pelicans, and gulls at the highest risk. The amount of oil in the water could alter the chemistry of the sea and could result in unpredictable effects. The oil in the water can also harm the fish directly because there will be reduced amount of oxygen in the water. Going by previous oil spills, it could take years or even decades to recover from the effects of the oil spill.

The oil spills has also caused a ban on fishing because of the safety of seafood; this has affected the livelihood of the people, in my town because a majority depend on fishing. In addition, the oil spill has affected tourism as evident in the decreased number of tourist in hotels and beaches in my home town. Despite, efforts by the government to promote tourism by giving assurances that it is safe to visit, there has been a continuous decrease in the number of tourists. Hotels have also tried to offer deals such as free golf and cut rates, but this has not yielded fruits.

The spill has also resulted in a number of health effects. Crude oil contains a combination of explosive hydrocarbons, that include xylene, ethylbenzene, toluene, benzene, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. When breathed these substances can cause tumors, the symptoms that have been reported in my home town include rapid heartbeat, nausea, headaches, and dizziness. These symptoms are as a result of dehydration because of the dispersants that are being used in the gulf. Residents living along the gulf coast have reported cases of chest pains, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

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The oil spill is a grave matter that should be addressed by the government and companies like BP that have been involved in this mess. Furthermore, it is upon each and every one of us to help in one way, or another to reduce the effect of the spill by engaging in clean up exercises. This will help in reducing if not eradicating the effects of the spill.

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