Thursday, April 29, 2010

Of oil spills and E. coli

The latest piece of big, "bad news," is the oil spill which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico from the Louisana oil rig disaster of April 20th. Now, 9 days later, it's become a real crisis as the spill has moved toward the Mississippi River, Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Breton national Wildlife Refuge, and rich oyster grounds.

One fisherman was quoted as saying, "The oil come in everywhere, the shrimp die, the crabs die, the fish die. What do I do?"

MSNBC reports that, "If the well cannot be closed, almost 100,000 barrels of oil, or 4.2 million gallons, could spill into the Gulf before crews can drill a relief well to alleviate the pressure." The size of the oil spill is now, "...600 miles in circumference and about 23 miles offshore." Think about the ecological significance of this event.

A "...decision to burn some of the oil came after crews operating submersible robots failed to activate a shut-off device that would halt the flow of oil on the sea bottom 5,000 feet below." Now where do you think all those toxic fumes are going? Correct! Right into the atmosphere.

Late yesterday, Wednesday, a lawsuit was filed that, "...seeks at least $5 million in compensatory damages, plus an unspecified amount of punitive damages against Transocean, BP, Halliburton Energy Services Inc. and Cameron International Corp." Hmmm, Halliburton, doesn't that name sound very familiar? Why yes, come to think of it, this administration is still playing "patty-cake" with them, in a number of different ventures? Yes, siree!
It will be interesting to see what transpires with this latest environmental situation as it progresses. Unfortunately, no amount of money is going to eradicate, or return the Gulf or animal life to what it was before the spill. Sources: The Baltimore Sun and MSNBC

Now, on to another topic: food! It was announced today that the State of New York is now linked to an E. coli O145 Outbreak in Michigan and Ohio! It is reported that as many as 47 have now sickened in three States, in the Marler Blog The Marler Blog is an excellent resource for finding out about what food/health-related challenges are presently occurring.

So, what is E. coli? Well, for the most part, it's the name of a type of bacteria that lives inside the intestines. Most types of E. coli are quite harmless. However, some types can cause illness and diarrhea. One type causes travelers' to have diarrhea. The worst type of E. coli causes bloody diarrhea, and may sometimes result in kidney failure and even death. Needless to say, it's something that one doesn't want to contract.

How do People contract E. coli? Well, one may contract it by drinking contaminated water, eating fruit or vegetables that have been watered with contaminated water, drinking unpasteurized milk, or eating undercooked ground meat. An E. coli infection may also be caught by coming into contact with others who are infected with it, or by working in environments where one might come into contact with human or animal feces.

At this point in time, it is not known for sure, whether or not this outbreak is from hamburger or some leafy green vegetables such as lettuce, or spinach.

So, there you have it, some new issues that are causing a bit of havoc for the planet and Homo sapiens! It seems to be an ongoing saga. Hmmm, I wonder what the final outcome will be?

Oh, by the way, here's a recommendation for some late night reading, for you: The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman, a fascinating book that asks us to envision the Earth without us. Think about it!

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