As the BP oil spill disaster continues, with up to 2.5 million gallons of oil gushing into the ocean daily with no signs of stopping, it’s clear that serious problems loom on the horizon for the people of the Gulf Coast. Particularly in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, gulf states with significant Black populations, our community is in danger of being hit particularly hard. Here’s a round-up of potential consequences of this oil spill:
Beaches and beach towns on the Gulf Coast are prime tourist destinations, particularly during the summer months. Thus far the oil slick hasn’t reached the shoreline, but unless the spill is contained soon (and all signs indicate that it won’t be) it’s only a matter of time before beaches begin to be contaminated. Oil-stained beaches will be a deterrent to tourists, draining money that local economies depend on and impacting the livelihoods of not just hotel owners but area merchants and planners of cultural festivals.
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Close to 40 percent of the nations seafood harvests come from the Gulf Coast. Louisiana in particular is the biggest supplier of crawfish in the world, and seafood is one of the state’s primary agricultural products. The oil spill already appears to be having a detrimental effect on wildlife, with dead marine animals washing up on shores. As the oil continues gushing into the ocean and nearing the coast line, the areas where gulf coast fishermen harvest their products will be increasingly impacted. As a result, they, seafood exporters, and local restaurant owners and employees stand to lose considerable amounts of money as their harvests are contaminated and customers grow wary.
READ MORE ABOUT THE OTHER ISSUES SURROUNDING THE OIL SPILL: