Since the April 20 bursting of an offshore drilling rig near Louisiana, USA, tens of thousands of gallons of toxic crude oil per day have been gushing unabated into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Unlike the major oil spill in Alaska in 1989 that came from a tanker, the current underground source is non-finite, with contamination that if left unchecked could inflict untold harm on marine wildlife.
Dr. Moby Solangi - President and Executive Director, Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (M): By now we have at least 2 or 3 million gallons that’s floating out there, and if they don’t cap it, this could be the worst manmade disaster in US history.
VOICE: Dr. Moby Solangi, President and Executive Director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Louisiana, has been preparing urgently to assist some of the marine animals that might be affected.
Dr. Moby Solangi (M): We specialize with dolphins, turtles and manatees. These are animals that are most vulnerable. They are air breathing animals. When they breathe the fumes, their lungs would be affected and they could get pneumonias and other toxins. And so that is really a big concern.
VOICE: Dr. Solangi is especially concerned that the oil could eventually impact all species associated with the coastal waters and marshes.
Apart from whales and sea turtles that would become coated with oil as they rise to the ocean surface, native birds such as the reddish egret and the mottled duck would have nowhere else to go once their habitats are affected.
Still other species, including the dolphin and bluefin tuna, recently gave birth to their young who may be particularly at risk.
Dr. Moby Solangi (M): There are a lot of baby dolphins that are going to be close to the shoreline, then they could be affected. Just like other young animals, they’re very inquisitive and they like to go into things, touch things. An animal does not know that oil spill is dangerous, so they get caught up into the oil spill and all these other issues cascade into a really serious injury.
They are depending upon us for their security, for their life, and it is the responsibility of human beings to take care of their surroundings and the animals that inhabit it, because ultimately their survival is our survival.
VOICE: We thank Dr. Solangi for your concerned efforts to protect our marine co-inhabitants who have become more fragile at this time. May further spillage be swiftly stopped as we pray meanwhile for the safety of human and animal residents alike. During a July 2008 videoconference in Formosa (Taiwan), Supreme Master Ching Hai urged greater conscientiousness in our lifestyles and actions toward the environment.