The Exxon Valdez oil spill impacted 1,300 miles and enough oil was spilled to fill up twelve Olympic size pools (Burger). The Exxon Valdez oil spill has three main points: how it happened, what the effect was, and how it was environmentally cleaned. The oil spill cleanup was adequate, environmentally sound, and completed in a timely fashion.
The Exxon Valdez incident took place on March 23, 1989 at Prince William Sound in Alaska. The drivers of the Exxon Valdez noticed icebergs in their planned route. Instead of trying to weave through the icebergs, they decided to go in another direction. On the new route, the oil tanker hit shallow land. The shallow land turned out to be the Bligh Reef. As soon as this happened it was one of the world’s largest disasters that could be prevented. When the Exxon oil company heard of the accident they had already began the planning for the cleanup of this major accident.
The first way is that the oil spill cleanup was very adequate. It was adequate in that it was done very well in the waters of Prince William Sound and also the shores. The cleanup started that first summer of 1989 and there was a common goal, and that was to return Prince William Sound back to the way it was. One of the ways that was used to clean up the oil on the shores was to use vacuum trucks. They drove the trucks straight onto the beaches and sucked up all of the oil and took it off to a good disposal site.
The next way the cleanup continued is the use of high pressure washers. They would use the pressure washers on a high temperature and would spray the rocks and beaches off. Then finally the last way to complete the proper cleanup on the shores is to simply use rubber gloves and shovels and put it in the back of trucks to be disposed of.
Now that the shores are clean, the Exxon cleanup team had to tackle the waters. The most effective and easiest ways to get the oil out of the water was to use skimmers and sorbents. Skimmers are boats that can remove the oil off the surface of the water and sorbents are sponges that collect the oil (“Oil Spills”). Once the skimmers and sorbents did all they can do, airplanes were sent over the spill and sprayed other chemicals to break down the petroleum molecules in the water. Since the first part of the Exxon Valdez oil spill was adequate, the second part is that it was done in an environmentally sound way too.
Next the Exxon Valdez oil spill was dealt with in an environmentally sound way. It is easy to tell in the waters and the wildlife in and around Prince William Sounds that it was cleaned in an environmentally sound way. The first way is the commercial use if the area. The commercial fishing industry is now able to catch as many fish as possible and take them to market. Also the natives can catch fish and as well as clams and other seafood for consumption. The habitat in and around the area are finally back to normal. It is back to the way it is because the bald eagle and sea otter have made a full recover (Davis). In saying that, the food chain has made a full recovery too.
The microorganisms have recovered for the fish to eat and the fish have also recovered for the birds. Now Prince William Sound is able to sustain a healthy habitat because most of the oil has been cleaned and removed for it to go back to normal. Now that the cleanup was adequate and environmentally sound, the last point is that it was completed in a timely fashion.
Lastly, the Exxon Valdez oil spill was cleaned up in a timely fashion in that it only took four summers for them to clean up as much oil as possible. The Exxon oil company wanted to make sure that all of the oil was cleaned up properly and wanted to more than what they were asked. So the company spent over 900 million dollars in the cleanup efforts.
They could have taken the easy way out in the cleanup effort by burning the oil, but they didn’t because it would cause more damage by polluting the air. It was easy in the cleanup efforts because of the technology that was used. One thousand boats, one hundred airplanes, and the Navy, Army, and Air Force were used to help in the cleanup (Steyn). With all of this help in the cleanup effort made it a whole lot easier. Also in total there were 10,000 people that helped clean up the 1,300 miles of infected area.
Finally, with all three of these points it proves that the Exxon Valdez oil spill was handled in a very good way. But to some the spill was not done correctly. In a way they are right because a lot of the wildlife was lost in the spill.
In conclusion, with the three points listed above prove that the Exxon Valdez oil spill was a major disaster but it was handled in many good ways. The oil spill cleanup was adequate, environmentally sound, and completed in a timely fashion. So now that when another disaster like this occurs we will be ready for it.