It may be funny in some aspects, but experts are at loggerheads over the exact amount of destruction wrought by the Gulf oil spill. Surprisingly, some are stating that it is devastating while others are saying that it is not too big a deal.
The problem stems from the Gulf’s previous environmental problems. Man-made damage was again the root cause of the issue, but the proper extent of that damage was never completely catalogued. This is what has complicated the measurement of the damage cause by the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
So far 1200 birds have been found dead due to the oil spill. Compare this to the Exxon Valdez disaster of 1989, where 35,000 casualties were reported and it doesn’t seem so bad. Unfortunately, the fear is that many dead birds will never be found and counted due to the marshy surroundings. If the birds made their way to this area, researchers will never be able to catalogue the deaths.
Even the level of oil dissolved in the water has been argued over. Several species of sharks have been spotted close to shore, out of their natural environment, leading to claims that deeper waters were extremely polluted. However, some scientists have claimed to have found plankton close to the leak. Thus they claim that if delicate life forms like plankton can survive, then the water conditions cannot be as bad as it is claimed to be.
The only thing clear is that, the Gulf is experiencing an environmental disaster. How much of that can be attributed to BP is what is being hotly contested.