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The Gulf of Mexico is Cleaning Itself


It’s hard to forget the BP oil spill. It’s arguably one of the most disastrous oil spills in history. The spill came at a huge cost to the Gulf of Mexico, devastating marine life as well as the livelihoods of those that depended on it. As for BP oil – the cost of settlement’s and clean-up came in at a whopping $37.2 billion and counting.

Environmental groups, the government, and activists everywhere have been fighting to protect the defenceless Gulf of Mexico. It’s simple – if they don’t fight for it, who else will? Well, actually, the Gulf of Mexico can fight for itself!

That’s right, recent research from the American Chemical Society shows that the Gulf of Mexico contains micro-organisms that fight oil. It’s a special blend of micro-organisms; a cleaning product of the gulf. They work by seeking out oil, and then breaking down the carbon chains that it consists of. They’re a brutal weapon with one purpose: seek out oil, and destroy it. This is great news, as it means that the Gulf of Mexico is cleaning itself. However, we can’t know for sure whether the oil spill will cause long term impacts to the gulf’s ecosystem.

So the gulf has it’s own oil-seeking missiles. That’s cool, but it begs the question – why does this exist? Was the gulf expecting the folly of humans to lead to a massive oil spill? Well, that’s partially true; the gulf definitely was expecting an oil spill, just not from humans. The truth is, natural oil seeps into the gulf regularly from the ocean floor. As such, the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico has evolved to clean itself.

What’s interesting is that, while the Gulf of Mexico is able to clean itself, we are harming it more than helping it! That’s right – the chemicals we use in our clean up efforts are actually very toxic, and cause more harm than good.  In many ways, these chemicals are even worst for the gulf’s ecosystems than the oil.

BP Oil

BP Oil has, in record time, become one of the most hated companies in the world.

It will be interesting to see what effects this news will have on our policies towards cleaning the gulf. Knowing that the Gulf of Mexico can clean itself, should we really be so worried? Is it possible to harness and breed the oil-killing microbes? Or would it be safest to leave the gulf to clean itself?