Oil Spill Clean-up Continues
by Sierra Deiter, age 12
Lots of people are trying to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf. One way they are doing this is by adding chemicals to the water that separate the oil into smaller pieces. Then natural microbes like bacteria can help break down the oil more easily. But those chemicals can be dangerous to fish and other wildlife and can also cause drops of oil to spread more quickly. Scientists have already discovered clouds of oil at the bottom of the gulf that have been created by dispersants. They are afraid that the oil will kill tiny creatures at the bottom of the Gulf that larger animals depend on for food.
Another way to clean up the oil is with boats that skim or suck up the oil, but this only works if the water is calm and may not work well if dispersants have already been used. Oil is sometimes burned right off the top of the water, but this burning is difficult in rough seas and creates air pollution.
Cleaning up the oil will be challenging. So much oil has leaked from the well, it will take a long time to clean up all the contaminated water.