Environmental Ethical Issues

Ethics is defined as the study of right and wrong conduct (Ruggiero 2008). Ethics have been studied for centuries now. It is a topic that has been studied by scholars for a very long time. Environmental ethics has not been studied as much as ethics have. Some people think that we do not need ethics because we already have so many laws (Ruggiero 2008). But it is because of ethics that we have laws. If we had no ethics, then there would be no laws. Throughout this paper I will discuss some environmental issues that the world is facing right now and I will discuss what we need to do to change it or help the situation.

Our environment is going downhill everyday due to the cause of pollution, global warming, ozone depletion, and a lot of other things that is destroying our environment. The world that we live in today has rapidly changed from the world that we use to live in before there was industrialization and urbanization. You see all kinds of environmental issues talked about all the time, on television, the radio, even in the workplace. Is the world disappearing before our eyes? A big issue that is going on now would be the major bp oil spill that has occurred in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil spills threaten millions of miles of coastline, river systems, lakes and terrestrial habitat daily, particularly where there is extensive oil drilling, refining, and transport. Serious, and potentially permanent, ecological damage is possible where chronic spills or spills of national significance occur (“Oil spill preperation,” 2010). Oil spill disasters can occur when the crew workers are making mistakes and being careless, when the equipment messes up, hurricanes, and illegal dumpers. Oil floats on salt water and usually floats on fresh water.

Oil will usually spread out rapidly across the water surface to form a thin layer that is called an oil slick. As the oil spreading process continues, the layer will become thinner and thinner, and then finally will become a very thin layer that is called a sheen, which often looks like a rainbow. Depending on the circumstances, oil spills can be very harmful to marine birds and mammals, and also can harm fish and shellfish. (“Oil spills- effect,” 2010)

The Deepwater Horizon was an offshore oil rig, operated by BP, drilling in 5,000 feet of water about 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. On April 20, 2010, the oil rig exploded, killing at least eleven crew members and leaving 5,000 barrels of oil a day spewing from the blown-out well underneath it. The rig sank after two days in flames but the damage had only just begun (Breen., 2010) .

The workers say that they know now it was a methane bubble that had escaped from the well and shot up the drill column, expanding very promptly as it blasted through several of the main seals, that is when the explosion happened according to the Rig workers that were there. Way beneath the sea floor methane is in crystalline form, and at any given time they could hit that nasty gas, that’s just the chance they take with the Eco system.

As the methane bubble came up through the drill column from the high pressure environs of the deep to the pressurized shallows, the bubble increased breaking through the safety barriers they said. According to one interviewer a gas cloud surrounded the rig causing the drill head to run to fast, which caused it to explode and catch fire, with all that gas that was around the rig it was by Gods grace that everyone wasn’t killed at that time. (“Why Did this,”)

The last sentence said it all. It was by Gods grace that everyone was not killed at that time. This oil spill is such a terrible thing and it has hurt the environment horribly. This oil spill has called all kinds of animals to die. There may not have been anyone to get hurt throughout this oil spill so far, but a lot of animals and wildlife has died from this. This oil spill will hurt the lack of supply of food to some parts of the country. Also gas prices could go up because of this. It’s been a little bit over 4 months since this oil spill has occurred, and it is still not been detained yet. Will it ever be? Will the Gulf of Mexico ever be free of all the oil?

The US government statistics showed that between 20,000 and 40,000-plus barrels of oil spouted from BP’s ruptured Gulf well (Burke., 2010). Only about 25 percent of the oil was recovered, burned, or skimmed. Then another 25 percent of the oil evaporated or dissolved. Meanwhile, 24 percent of the oil remains dispersed in the water, while another 26 percent of the oil falls into a catch-all “residual” category. That includes oil sheen on the surface, weathered tar balls, oil that has been collected from shorelines, as well as oil that has seeped into sand and sediments, where under the right conditions it can have long-lasting ecological effects. (Spotts., 2010)

A group of scientists say that most of that BP oil the government claimed was gone from the Gulf of Mexico is actually still there. The scientists believe that roughly three-quarters of the oil (70% to 79%) still lurks under the surface. The research team, affiliated with the University of Georgia, said that it is a misinterpretation of data to claim that oil that has dissolved is actually gone or harmless. (“Gulf oil spill,” 2010) Not only did the oil harm the water but it also harmed the sand and shorelines. There have been a lot of beaches that has had to close for the summer because it had oil that had washed up and got in the sand.

Beaches around the Gulf of Mexico have experienced many closings and warnings due toxic oil from the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a report released by an environmental group on Wednesday. The oil spill, which has contaminated the water of the Gulf of Mexico led to 2,239 days of closures, advisories, and notices on beaches from Louisiana to Florida, even though the season has not ended yet. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a national environmental group, noted the spill effects in its 20th annual beach water report. So this also hurt the hotel’s business, because not as many vacationers want to go to a beach that has oil in their sand. (Phillips, 2010)

Due to the all the oil that has been washed up on the shorelines and getting into the sand, there was a lot of money lost for all of the hotels, restaurants, and all the businesses that are around the beaches that got closed. A lot of these destinations that got caught up in the oil spill were destinations that families would take every year for their summer vacation. So the economy has also lost some money during this oil spill.

The oil spill has also caused a lot of harm to the wildlife. Most of the animals immediately affected were sea creatures – from fish to turtles to marine mammals – and as the oil reached closer to the land, and other animals – nesting and migrating birds, especially – began to feel the impact of this environmental catastrophe (Edweirdo, 2010).

Since this oil has got into the ocean and the ocean is where we get our seafood at will it contaminate it? Chemical dispersants sprayed into the Gulf of Mexico to break up the massive oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon disaster do not appear to threaten the safety of seafood in the affected waters, said the Food and Drug Administration (Layton, 2010). In a letter sent in response to questions from Rep. Edward J.

Markey (D-Mass.), the agency responsible for ensuring the safety of seafood said that chemicals used to break up the slicks are not as dangerous to human health as the oil itself (Layton, 2010) FDA scientists do not think that the chemicals accumulate significantly in the tissue of fish and shellfish; even if fish absorb the chemicals through gills or other ways, the fish do not retain them, Jeanne Ireland, the FDA’s assistant commissioner for legislation, wrote to Markey.

That means the chemicals are not passed up the food chain to humans and are not considered a public health concern, according to the FDA (Layton, 2010). If these chemicals were to accumulate in the tissues of the fish and shellfish, how harmful would it be to humans? All kinds of people around the world eat fish and shellfish all the time. So what if some of the chemicals were to get in the tissues of the fish, if this were to happen then there would not only been environmental problems, but this would be hurting the people that ate the fish and shellfish.

This would be more than a problem with the environment. This would become a problem with people losing their lives to. So would bp also be responsible for this to? The cleanup process of this horrible oil spill is going to take awhile but one upside to this oil spill is that it could possibly help the economy right now. BP will spend $6 billion to hire 4,000 people to clean up the spill.

This contributed more than the $700 million lost in fishing and tourism revenues and the 3,000 jobs lost to the six-month deep-water drilling moratorium (Amadeo., 2010). This would be the only upside to this horrible oil spill disaster. It could help people and families out for just a little bit. It could give them a job for a little bit, because everyone knows right now the way this economy is it is very hard to get a job.

To clean up some of this oil spill one of the things that they are going to use is called an oilzapper. Oilzapper is a patented consortium of crude oil and oily sludge degrading bacteria, which, over a time frame of four months, eats and converts contaminants into carbon dioxide and cleans up the surrounding area without any harmful residues or side-effects. (Lyengar., 2010) Dr Banwari Lal, who spearheaded the clean-up operations, has successfully demonstrated the efficient use of the Oilzapper technology at Awas beach.

“Over the last decade, many researchers have avoided the problems associated with bio-remediation, and successfully used microbes in the cleaning up of oil spills on land. However, a study initiated with industry partners Indian oil corporation ltd and ONGC has already identified microbial cultures that have the capability to degrade hydrocarbons in marine environments.

Artificial waves will be created and the impact of the oil spread will be measured. “In deep water oil spills, the oil is scooped up using an oil containment boom, steamers and sucking pumps. However, the marine environment will still be affected if these methods are used. The study will not only aid in mitigating environmental issues in cases like the recent oil spill, but will also help in establishing regulatory standards that are missing in our country. The second phase of the clean-up using Oilzapper technology will start at Navy Nagar. Approximately 3,000kg of Oilzapper was used at the Awas beach on Friday. (Lyengar., 2010) The Gulf of Mexico disaster was the worst oil spill in US history and has cost BP over ‘3billion to date (“This Mess will,” 2010).

We have the capabilities as a species to launch ourselves into space, to walk on the moon, to create new elements, new forms of energy and plasma, but we can’t stop an oil spill? At this point, that is a moot issue because the fact is this oil spill in the Gulf is spewing out the same amount of crude oil that the Exxon Valdez did every four days.

That’s right, the Valdez was our nation’s biggest oil spill, and right now we are doubling that one twice a week. So what do we do about this (“Forcing consumers to,” 2010)? There are many things that we could do to help them with this oil spill. Some of the things that we could do would be volunteer and donate money to help with all the costs. Many people are volunteering right now to help with this horrible disaster.

Every hand would help they need all that they can get. In conclusion, we all need to lend a helping help with this environment. The littlest things would even count, like picking trash up off the side of the road, recycling, and even helping out with this oil spill and doing everything that we can to help with it. Our world is slowly disappearing before our eyes. We need to do everything that we can to help this and save our environment.

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