By now, I’m sure everyone has heard about the oil spill that occurred down in East End, Grand Bahama. It has been broadcasted on many Bahamian news outlets and even broadcasted on American news channels. A reporter from WSVN visited Grand Bahama and reported that there has been plants and insects spotted in oil. Everyone is just so fascinated to report about this oil spill. What will the government do? What will Equinors Oil Facility do? For starters, there has been some improvements from the visual aspects of this oil spill, you can no longer see the oil on the grounds opposite the facility, nor in the roads. But that is just the surface issue that was cleared up. The deeper issue we’re facing now is the threat to our ecosystems. In East End, there are many wetlands, including mangroves and there are many acres of pine forest. They are the dominant terrestrial ecosystem here in Grand Bahama, it covers 50% of Grand Bahama, so I’ve learned in Ecology. This issue has caused our animals to vacate their home as it is not safe and food sources are scarce.
It has been a huge surprise to me that many persons aren’t aware of the importance of our wetlands, the major one being our mangroves. The two major importance’s is that they stabilize our climate and provide ground water. It’s no secret that global warming is a real issue and this summer has been one of the hottest summers ever on, record. Wetlands work against global warming, but it’s only so much our little Bahamas can do to correct mistakes from the larger first world countries. The more we industrialize countries, the more carbon dioxide gets into the air and there’s only suppose to be 0.04% of CO2 into the air, the percentage must be high to initiate global warming. Our beautiful mangroves (red, black, white and buttonwood) absorb the warming gas, CO2 out of the air and store them in their roots and leaves, making the air less warmer. In my ecology class, we were suppose to tour through the wetlands on a glass bottom boat but the hurricane destroyed the wetlands and our trip was canceled. After the passing of hurricane Dorian, I was informed by one of my classmates that the people in her community have been getting their fresh water from the mangroves. I was happy to hear that persons can rely on the ecosystem to give them fresh water, which is why we must protect it. When it rains, the wetlands filter the water before it seeps into the ground, then storing it as “ground water”. This has been a blessing to the less fortunate or to those who simply don’t want to buy gallons of water everyday just to bathe, cook and brush their teeth. The water has a high salt content and nobody really knows what it’s contaminated with and that’s scary. Three months later and this issue is still present.
Secondly, the government issued a statement saying that the oil has spread seven miles into coppice environments north to the facility. Coppice are trees or plants found near wetlands or forest, in this case, it’s near our pine forest. Our pine forest are homes for many animals, including our Bahamian boa constrictor, many different species of birds and pigs and wild hogs. We’ve been seeing these wild pigs more than we’ve ever seen them before, and they walk in these large crowds. My first semester here at UB, every two weeks I would ride down East End to catch the boat and go home. Never once spotted a pig crossing the road. Now that the hurricane has left behind an oil spill, these animals are constantly leaving their habitats and looking for new, clean ones. I saw the pigs at first on Facebook, when someone recorded them. In the video, the pigs were coming up to them, possibly for food or water. Then, my friend rode down there to catch the boat and recorded another video with many pigs crossing the road. I kept saying to myself that this was so unlikely of them. To my surprise, heading down there three weeks ago, I saw many pigs just standing in the middle of the road, then heading towards my car. Of course, I was afraid because one of the pigs was very big and I’ve never seen a pig that big. On their legs, there was black substances, it can be oil or it can be mud but I wasn’t stepping outside the car to figure it out. It is no coincidence that the oil spill has affected their livelihoods and they’re trying to start over.
Childs, J. W. (2019, October 9). 5 Million Gallons of Oil Spilled from Bahamas Storage Facility Damaged in Hurricane Dorian, Company Says. The Weather Chanel . Retrieved from https://weather.com/news/news/2019-10-09-oil-spill-bahamas-equinor-dorian
Vedrine , B. (n.d.). Government Continues to Monitor Oil Spill at Equinor . Retrieved from http://www.bahamas.gov.bs/wps/portal/public/gov/government/news/government continues to monitor oil spill at equinor/