In less than one week, the four year anniversary of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will once again serve as a reminder of the devastating environmental effects the leakage had on the gulf's ecosystem, further highlighting the importance of implementing the proper predictive maintenance necessary for oil pipelines and drilling infrastructure. It was the biggest oil spill in United States history, with an estimated discharge of 210 million gallons of oil being released by the Deepwater Horizon underwater rig.
Today, there are still several questions being raised about the impact of the spill, mainly regarding the health of those who were involved in the cleanup and reports that a number of species are still dying in record numbers. There are currently an approximate 33,000 people who are participating in a federal study being implemented to track any short or long-term related health effects that could have been the result from the spill. The study is aimed toward administering blood pressure tests, lung functioning measurements and additional procedures to find other potential side effects that could have arisen from the aftermath.
BP has paid more than $11 billion to individuals and businesses that have reported some sort of economic damage, but there has yet to have been an agreed-upon settlement figure proposed to the 200,000 people who have developed everything from respiratory infections to skin illnesses. It has been estimated that some of those who will eventually receive benefits from BP could earn up to around $60,000 toward medical expenses.
Meanwhile, the death tolls suffered by various species of wildlife has continued to increase around the Gulf of Mexico over the years. According to National Geographic, species that have suffered an increase of mortality rates since the BP accident include bottlenose dolphins, brown pelicans, loons, sea turtles and sperm whales. Reports have also stated that evidence of oil still floating across the gulf area is still widely abundant.
While it could be decades later until scientists and the public understand and realize exactly what the impact the BP oil spill will have on the Gulf of Mexico, implementing proper equipment monitoring is still a primary source of prevention in the event of a future spill or accident.