martes, 4 de mayo de 2010

Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

This photograph here, on the left, is, in fact, an infographic (Information Graphics), which is a word for illustrations and charts that instruct people in a much faster and easier way than through text. Here´s some useful vocabulary to understand it:
spill : cause or allow a liquid to run out of a container
deploy: use or distribute
boom: floating barrier
gush: to flow suddenly and in great volume.
oil rig : a large, offshore platform that is used to house workers and machines needed to drill oil wells in the ocean floor. Most of the workers escaped from this one but eleven people died.

This rig was owned by the energy company BP (=British Petroleum). By the way, the cause of this explosion is under investigation. Click on the following link if you want to track the movement of the spill and see how it grows. And for some excellent photos, go, as usual, to my favourite page, The Big Picture; in this case, they are so good that can be really depressive.

This spill imperils (= puts in danger) hundreds of species of fish, birds and other wildlife along the Gulf Coast, one of the world's richest seafood grounds, teeming with ( = full of) shrimp, oysters and other marine life. Wildlife at risk in the area includes pelicans, ducks, whales, tuna, turtles, dolphins; plant life will also suffer from the spill. Experts say the spill could become one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.

If you want to learn what happens after an oil spill, check what happened when the disaster of The Exxon Valdez took place.

We, in Galicia, are, unfortunately, quite familiar with this kind of disasters mainly because of the Prestige oil spill. Prestige was the name of a ship, an oil tanker, which sank in the Atlantic Ocean, near the Galician coast, when one of its tanks burst in November 2002. It spilt about 20 million gallons of oil into the sea. Here are some photos to remind you of this awful disaster. The marine ecosystem of Galicia was greatly affected. The polyaromatic hydrocarbons contained in the spilled oil poisoned plankton, fish eggs, and crustaceans. The fishing industry also suffered heavy losses as offshore fishing had to be put on hold for the next 6 months.

During the "Prestige" disaster, the Galician flag (white and blue) was pictured with a black field representing the oil and with the words "Nunca Máis" ( = Never Again)in white.

It still gives me goose bumps to think about it; mind you, looking on the bright side of life, the solidarity movement that started with the voluntary cleaning works is not to be forgotten either.

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