- A steady stream of pollution from offshore rigs causes a wide range of health and reproductive problems for fish and other marine life.
- Offshore drilling exposes wildlife to the threat of oil spills that would devastate their populations.
- Offshore drilling activities destroy kelp beds, reefs and coastal wetlands.
- Over its lifetime, a single oil rig can:
- Dump more than 90,000 metric tons of drilling fluid and metal cuttings into the ocean;
- Drill between 50-100 wells, each dumping 25,000 pounds of toxic metals, such as lead, chromium and mercury, and potent carcinogens like toluene, benzene, and xylene into the ocean
- Pollute the air as much as 7,000 cars driving 50 miles a day.
Since 1988, the oil industry has drilled more than 100,000 exploratory wells, threatening frontier forests in 22 countries, coral reefs in 38 countries, mangrove swamps in 46 countries, indigenous people on six continents, and global climate stability worldwide.
In response to the signing and intention to start Offshore Oil Exploration and Harvesting in Belize, the Government has chosen to embark on large scale agreements with international Oil Companies to start Offshore Exploration off the Coast of Belize.
Instead of steering toward more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives, they are advocating tapping into our strategic natural resources and protective areas, a measure that not only endangers the life forms around said areas but steals the future from our children and provides only a very short term benefit for our country and the companies that will be harvesting the oil.
The Government demeans our system with claims of progress and practicing political maneuvers that work behind closed doors instead of cooperating with the Conservation groups in Belize and abroad.
Not only does offshore drilling open the way for higher risk of pollution and bio-hazard disasters but the byproducts released into the air can poison the local fish populations that people consume around the world. Another major drawback is that the explosions used for seismic exploration which are measured to around 260db(1)Ocean Noise and Marine Mammals that causes brain hemorrhaging and beaching of sea creatures. Thousands of people come to Belize to fish, swim our waters and look to it as an escape from the rest of the world. One small oil spill could destroy the largest LIVING barrier reef in the world, the Meso-American Barrier Reef System(MBRS), and then the tourist industry would come to a close here.. Remember the hundreds of whales that beached near Madagascar(2)100 melon headed whales beached in Madagascar, (3)Whales stranded off Madagascar, (4)More Dead Dolphins In Madagascar when ExxonMobil was testing in 2008?
Oil spills over water is the most dangerous due to the non-mixing of water and oil which causes the oil to spread over great distances and destroy marine ecosystems. Our waters are home to many endangered species or sea life. The coast of Belize is home to many species of marine wildlife like the Coral Reef, Sea Turtles, Manatees and many other endangered or threatened species.
Allowing offshore drilling to happen or even to test for the possibility of oil off our shores will do very little if anything to help with fuel costs and we’ve already seen that with the current drilling taking place; actually if we look at the short history of oil production in Belize, we can say for a fact that it increases cost. We must also remember that the effects of a spill no matter how small can wreak havoc on beach-front properties, fishing, tourism, wildlife, drinking water and humans; all of which play a huge role in the success of our country and its economy.(5)BNE Oil Spill Threatens Spanish Lookout Water Supply, (6)BNE Refuses to File Environmental Impact Assessment, (7)Oil Tankers Spills Gallons of Oil in Orange Walk Town, (8)BNE oil spills troubles Spanish Lookout!, (9)Exxon Valdez, 20 Years Later
Another point I must bring up is that oil drilling opens up large spaces underground where the oil once filled which in turn can cause under sea erosions that can eventually cause a huge shift in the ecosystem marine life use for laying eggs and raising their young.
The oil companies do not care about the environment and what they do to the area they work in. They will do whatever it takes to mask the real dangers of drilling for oil, remember they have billions of dollars and scores of attorneys and possibly even environmentalists at their disposal. Like we Belizeans say, “No monkey weh seh ih pikney ugly” (No monkey will say their child is ugly); we cannot expect them to tell the truth of what kind of destruction, degradation and damages are really being caused by their operations.
If we allow drilling, we will only have a few years of actual oil production and from past records it can take several years to start producing marketable quantities of oil. Would we not rather keep our waters free of these harmful and destructive rigs and invest in caring for our ecosystems instead? Honestly, look at it this way, we can have a few years of oil production after years of seismic explosions damaging the ecosystem only to test if they can even use our maritime space for oil, the lingering effect of having these huge rigs as part of our landscape and the destruction and risks caused to the lives it can and will impact; or do we keep our water’s clean and invest in the upkeep and preservation of it which will in turn provide hundreds of years of profits from tourism, fisheries and providing a healthy home and environment.
With technology developing so fast and becoming more feasible to implement we should be looking at other alternative energy sources like solar and wind which allows us to protect the environment. Another way to cut down on oil costs is to aide, enhance and promote public transportation, car-pooling as well as design for walking and bike riding when planning out cities, towns and villages. These are just a few examples of ways we can adapt to help the environment and ease our dependency on fossil fuels.
Think of the future, oil will not last forever and we cannot see it as a long-term or a smart investment. It is a short term energy provider that will run out and leave in its wake destruction and hurt too many lives including ours. We need to start looking forward for alternative energy providing solutions. If the government would start promoting energy efficient vehicles and stop allowing importation of gas guzzlers like the Hummers, old vehicles and diesel generators; we would notice a big difference in the amount of oil needed to run Belize. Start allowing people to use solar and wind alternatives and slow the reliance on oil power. There are many ways to keep Belize running other than oil.(10)Sugar Slump May End on Restocking, Ethanol Demand
- Oil Drilling: Risks and Rewards
- Effects of Oil on Marine Life
- Oil Spills: Impact on the Ocean
- Environmental Effects of Drilling Waste Discharges
- Oil Production and Environmental Damage
- Oil Spills
- Oil (petroleum)
- Oil Spills – adverse effects on marine environmental bio-system and control measures
- Oil spills can be very harmful to marine birds and mammals as well as fish and shellfish
- The environmental effects of oil and gas exploration and production
- Lethal Sounds
- Man-Made Noise is Harmful to Sea Animals
- How to Reduce Your Energy Consumption
- Sagres Prepares for Drilling Offshore Jamaica (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Gulf of Mexico Oil Drilling Accident is Tragic Repeat of History, According to Louisiana Offshore Injury Attorney (prweb.com)
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