Oil Pollution

Little-known side effect of the Oil Boom in North Dakota

 

Oil Pollution

Oil Pollution - March 23, 2012, at the side of Highway 85 near Williston, N.D.

There’s an oil boom in North Dakota.  Unfortunately, it’s having a most unpleasant effect on the prairies there.

Since oil was discovered, there’s been a huge increase in oil pollution – the amount of litter.  That’s bad enough – but it gets worse.

All along the highway you can find discarded hard hats, single boots, bits of machinery, oily clothing and cigarette butts.  It not what you commonly think of as oil pollution – but it wasn’t there before the oil boom.

But that’s not the worst.

Local residents are furious.

There used to be lots of volunteers who collected the litter.  But not any more.

Why?

Because amongst the litter are discarded plastic soda bottles – filled with urine.

Truckers passing through this new oil country find that there are not enough rest stops.  And there are no plans to build more due to lack of funds.

I’m trying to be fair here, and I imagine it must be difficult to drive long distances to a deadline.  But for heaven’s sake, if you’re going to create a “truckers’ bomb” as they’re called, why not keep it at the back of your truck till you reach your next stop, and then put it in a rubbish bin?

Truckers bombs are a little-thought-of form of oil pollution.

Mowing tractors have had to be upgraded to include a cab to protect operators from getting sprayed with urine if the ‘bombs’ are hit by a blade or a wheel.  The bombs can also explode due to heat.

North Dakota is now America’s 3rd largest oil producer, and there’s been a huge influx of people seeking work.  The number of trucking companies operating in the oil-rich area has surged – and so has their litter.

Local residents are paying the price with a particularly nasty form of indirect oil pollution.

 

While on the subject of oil, a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says scientists have proved conclusively that BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is responsible for the death of deep sea corals about 7 miles away from the well.

The once-brightly-coloured deep sea coral community died a slow death and is now brown and dull. A biologist who went down to the coral site said: “It was like a graveyard of corals”.

This is the sort of oil pollution we’re all too familiar with.

Oil – it’s a dirty business.

 

 

Photo Credit Huffington Post

2 comments… add one

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  • Sonya Lenzo 31st March 2012, 3:37 PM

    Yuck! Isnt there a large fine for littering along the highways? I would think that paying a few fines might stop at least some of this.
    Sonya Lenzo

    Reply
    • Clare Delaney 2nd April 2012, 7:12 AM

      Yuck indeed! You raise a valid point about fines. However, apparently:

        It’s difficult to catch people in the act of discarding waste – you have to be there at just the right time, and if a squad car is following a truck, generally people won’t throw away rubbish
        The fines are just $20 per offence. The Transportation Dept wanted to increase the penalty for $500 and put up road signs advertising this. But lawmakers decided it would be ‘off-putting’and killed the new law.

      So of course, with a $20 fine unlikely to happen……
      Very sad.

      Reply
  • Sonya Lenzo says:

    Yuck! Isnt there a large fine for littering along the highways? I would think that paying a few fines might stop at least some of this.
    Sonya Lenzo

    • Clare Delaney says:

      Yuck indeed! You raise a valid point about fines. However, apparently:

        It’s difficult to catch people in the act of discarding waste – you have to be there at just the right time, and if a squad car is following a truck, generally people won’t throw away rubbish
        The fines are just $20 per offence. The Transportation Dept wanted to increase the penalty for $500 and put up road signs advertising this. But lawmakers decided it would be ‘off-putting’and killed the new law.

      So of course, with a $20 fine unlikely to happen……
      Very sad.