The Associated Press 08 April 2020, 7:20:25 PM IST
A decade after the country's worst offshore oil spill, dolphins, turtles, and other wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico remain at serious risk, according to a report released on Tuesday.
The fact that the Gulf has not fully recovered is "hardly surprising given the scale of the disaster," said David Muth, director of the Gulf of Mexico recovery program for the National Wildlife Federation.
The Deepwater Horizon drill explosion on April 20, 201
What followed was, according to Muth, the largest attempt at restoration in the world, in which billions were invested in projects or used for projects to restore the Gulf and its ecosystem, and a further $ 12 billion Available were issued through 2032.
"It's an opportunity we can't afford to waste," he said, adding that the projects are creating jobs.
In the report the NWF said it believes a large part of the money should be spent on restoring the estuary, where fresh water mixes with the Gulf's salt water.
“Projects that restore wetlands, rebuild oyster reefs, protect vital habitats from development, and restore natural patterns of water flow and sediment deposition will help many species damaged by the oil. Many of these projects will not only help wildlife, but will also help protect coastal communities from rising seas and extreme weather, ”the report said.
During a telephone press conference on Tuesday, NWF experts highlighted the plight of some species of wild animals affected by the spill:
– Dolphins. They are still fighting, and many who live in oiled areas are still sick. About 55 percent had worsening lung disease, 43 percent had abnormal stress responses, 25 percent were underweight, and 19 percent were anemic, the report said. Dolphins born after 2010 are not as sick as those who have been directly exposed to oil, but they are also not as healthy as dolphins who were born in unoiled areas. Scientists say it could take decades for affected dolphin populations to recover.
– Kemps Ridley sea turtle. After the sea turtles were threatened with extinction in the 1960s, they were largely saved through conservation efforts until the oil spill, in which up to 20 percent of adult women died. The breeding season fluctuated in the years after spilling.
– Birds. About 12 percent of the brown pelicans and 32 percent of the black-headed gulls in the northern Gulf died from the oil spill. About 1 million offshore and coastal birds were killed.
Scientists estimate that the oil killed or seriously injured "billions if not trillions" of animals, according to a 2019 environmental group lawsuit. The government declared a fishing disaster. According to BP, the cost has exceeded $ 60 billion.
Environmental organizations sued last June to contest President Donald Trump's government decision to weaken critical security rules created after the spill.
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