Thursday, June 3, 2010

A few notes on BP's oil spill, dispersants and clean-up

Let me be on record:  Proposing to use a nuclear weapon to stop a hole in the ocean borders on insanity, and should be taken off the table as an option from the very start. I was very distraught to hear in the early days of the BP disaster, that the administration was seeking the advice of the Nuclear Laboratories such as Los Alamos in this. Dr. Chu realizes that the nuclear option does not exist here (and nowhere else either), which shows us again what an abuse of resources these laboratories truly are: they cannot solve any military problems, nor any civilian - either.  They are truly useless. They do not address the problems of our time. They are important only because we pay a lot of money for them. That is stupid.

O.K. I didn't want to talk about the laboratories again.... let's get back to the BP oil spill. 

My questions are these:
How much do we really know about deep geology ? Have we understood the relationships between layers of oil and the drift of continental plates.....and earthquakes ? Could it be that at the depth that they are drilling now,  some 20.000 feet under the crust of the earth, many "oil lakes" are actually connected which may explain the  increasing pressure of the "oil volcano" under the Gulf ? What is the potential magnitude of barrels of oil floating on the Gulf, if all efforts are unsuccessful  or worse....counter productive ? Any idea ? Based on what ? Go back to question one.

Whatever the eventual solution for capping the oil well may be, it is clear that there will be tremendous environmental damage. Throwing toxic oil dispersants on the oil itself will make the problem only worse.

One has to realize that life in water is only made possible by small amounts of fatty acids that envelop all living beings in the ocean. From tuna and dolphins to plankton and one celled algae --who are feeding the whole oceanic ecology-- they all share this tiny layer of fat. This layer of fatty acids prevents the total osmosis that would otherwise occur in a salty ocean. If this layer is damaged, the live fluids are drained out of every cel and the organisms die from atrophy --their internal circulation drying out. This is precisely why the oil dispersant is so harmful: it de-solves what otherwise would be a film of oil on top of the water, into tiny droplets that disperse throughout the ocean and hence throughout the food chain in the water. Each one of these oil droplets that have attached to the dispersants act like bullets assaulting every living being in its way. Once attached to any being in the web of oceanic life, they 'burn' a hole into the protective layers of fatty acids... and killing everything in its wake.

There should be an immediate halt to the use of dispersants in the gulf. They were only used (underwater no less) to hide the extend of the problem. The oil disperses and 'dissolves'  into the water.....--like when you are doing the dishes--  so now it can't be detected any longer from the surface.  This will exacerbate the real problem even more. Stop it Obama ! Dr. Chu, pay attention !

Now to the cleanup itself. This is going to be a problem for a long time to come and I realize that there are no easy solutions. But if there are any, they will come from Bio-remediation. Finding out which organisms can feed on the oil, and then promulgating them. Of course this will bring on its own set of problems, perhaps even toxicity--but we should realize these problems are caused by profound imbalances caused by humans. Imbalances in more that just the ecology.....imbalances in power structures that control the fate of the earth. We humans will pay a high price for our follies and greed.

needlenose dolphins playing in the carribean....not too long ago

1 comment:

  1. Feeding on the oil? YEAST

    I have know idea what this means.
    While I prefer to walk...
    I just know, as much as I like my car, I would rather have the option of a solar or wind propelled mass transit system in Los Angeles.

    Even though I do not live on the Atlantic, I can almost imagine the petroleum stench.

    To President Obama,
    Please cut yourself loose of corporations... especially the oily dudes.