Category Archives: Features

How Fast Can Microbes Break Down Oil Washed Onto Beaches?

Oiled sediment. This photo shows the swash zone at USGS sampling location MS-39 on East Ship Island, MS. Waves have cut a steep section into the sand, revealing alternating layers of clean and sticky organic-rich sand that are visible after low tide. (The swash zone is the zone that is alternately covered and exposed by waves.) Captions and Photo source: Shane Stocks / USGS


A new Florida State University study is investigating how quickly the Deepwater Horizon oil carried into Gulf of Mexico beach sands is being degraded by the sands’ natural microbial communities, and whether native oil-eating bacteria that wash ashore with the crude are helping or hindering that process…

Read Full Article, Science Daily

Lessons in Brazil’s oil spill after a decade

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care
WATCH: A Youtube Video


In Brazil, an oil disaster 10 years ago struck an ecosystem much like the mangrove swamps in the US now being threatened by the giant BP oil leak in the US Gulf of Mexico.

More than 1.3 million litres of oil leaked from an underwater pipeline run by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras in 2000, making it the country’s largest spill devastating delicate mangrove ecosystems and destroying local habitat.

The oil contaminated the waters of Guanabara Bay outside Rio de Janeiro, an area which the Brazilian government at the time said would recover after 10 years.

But today the once-green mangrove bay area only has thick black mud and no life left in the soil…

Youtube Video

BBC Article on Guanabara Bay Oil Spill

Glowing Oil Could Aid Gulf Spill Cleanup

Oil along the coastline. Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care.


Late last week coastal geologist Rip Kirby (University of South Florida) was on the seashore as part of an effort to detect oil by shining UV lights, widely used to spot vital fluid at crime scenes, on Gulf beaches. The method, he hopes, will allow scientists and cleanup crews to tackle hard-to-spot oil, such as crude mixed with mud or light stains on sand, that’s washed ashore from the sinking of the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig.

Under UV light, clean sand appears purple or black. Some minerals, such as calcium carbonate in seashells, glow blue, as does a shovel handle in the picture above. Tar from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill lights up orange-yellow on the beaches.

Although hydrocarbons have long been known to fluoresce, or glow, under ultraviolet light, this may be the first time the technology has been used outside a lab to spot oil…

Read Full Article; By Chris Combs, The National Geographic.

Mangroves under threat, Solomon Islands

Mangrove roots. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Mangroves are continuously under threat from overharvesting, degradation and land reclamation. Yet we continue to cut them down unaware at times of the role these trees are playing within the coastal ecosystem.

Fiji and other Pacific Islands are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and because we cannot prevent it we have to find means to adapt to climate change…

Read Full Article; By, Solomon Islands Journal, News online.

BP Oily waste dumped in landfills


The Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency shored up their oversight of BP’s work to clean up the oil-soaked Gulf Coast on Thursday, setting new standards for how the company and its contractors should test and track the garbage generated by the ongoing spill.

BP PLC has hired private contractors to haul away thousands of tons of polluted sand, crude-coated boom and other refuse washing ashore from the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

So far the disaster has generated more than 3,913 tons of solid waste, which is being hauled to landfills in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida…

Watch a Youtube Video

Read Full Article

Is oil spill waste being mishandled? AP
A leaky truck filled with oil-stained sand and absorbent boom soaked in crude pulls away from the beach, leaving tar balls in a public parking lot and a messy trail of sand and water on the main beach road. A few miles away, brown liquid drips out of a disposal bin filled with polluted sand…

Youtube Video:
BP Dumping Oil Waste in Mississippi Landfill Despite Objections of County Leaders.

BP crews scoop up the oil off Gulf beaches, the waste is transported to Mississippi’s Pecan Grove landfill

27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Leading environmental groups and a U.S. senator on Wednesday called on the government to pay closer attention to more than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico and take action to keep them from leaking even more crude into water already tainted by the massive BP spill…

Read Full Article, Huffington Green
In an undated photo released by the California State Lands Commission, a nearshore wellhead is excavated off California. In state waters, California has resealed scores of its abandoned wells since the 1980s, but in federal waters, the official policy is out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Neither industry nor government checks for leaks at the more than 27,000 oil and gas wells abandoned in the Gulf of Mexico since the late 1940s. Abandoned wells are known sometimes to fail both on land and offshore.
It happens so often that a technical term has been coined for the repair job: ‘re-abandonment.’

Gulf oil spill poses unique health challenges

Photo source: ©© DHR


Last week public health experts convened in New Orleans, Louisiana, to tackle unanswered questions about the health effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. After the workshop, hosted by the Institute of Medicine, a non-profit organisation within the US National Academies in Washington DC, what do we now know about the health risks?

What are the immediate health hazards of the oil spill?..

Read Full Article; By Caitlin Stier, NewScientist.

How Will The Gulf Oil Spill Affect Human Health? NPR
Medical researchers have met on June 23rd, in New Orleans to discuss the health effects of the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But most of the discussion is about what isn’t known. The workshop was pulled together in a matter of days by the Institute of Medicine, a prestigious independent body chartered by Congress. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asked for the review…

The ‘Black Tides’ Of Galicia
Blanca Laffon and her colleagues at the University of A Coruna in Spain, research on oil exposure and DNA effects, following the 2002 wreck of the tanker Prestige…