Sick of the slick in the Gulf of Mexico? Well, here’s a list of what you can do to help the victims of the BP oil spill from the comfort of your home. The list covers things like donating dog hair to the most important: cutting back on your oil consumption.
Donate. If you can’t physically aid the clean-up efforts, your dollars will help in your absence. Great non-profits who could use your contribution include the National Wildlife Federation, which is helping injured animals in the Gulf Coast region; the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, which provides help to fishermen who have lost their jobs; and Defenders of Wildlife, which is advocating for better environmental policies in government to prevent such disasters from happening in the future.
Hold a fundraiser. If your birthday or another special event is coming up, ask for donations to fund the oil spill clean-up effort instead of presents. Services like Razoo, FirstGiving, and Crowdrise provide free online platforms to help you raise funds for any US-based non-profit group.
In the future, oil spills could be partly cleaned up by bacteria that loves to eat all the dangerous goo in oil.
esearchers have discovered a new strain of bacteria that can produce non-toxic, comparatively inexpensive “rhamnolipids,” and effectively help degrade polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs – environmental pollutants that are one of the most harmful aspects of oil spills.
Because of its unique characteristics, this new bacterial strain could be of considerable value in the long-term cleanup of the massive Gulf Coast oil spill, scientists say.
More research to further reduce costs and scale up production would be needed before its commercial use, they added.
The findings on this new bacterial strain that degrades the PAHs in oil and other hydrocarbons were just published in a professional journal, Biotechnology Advances, by researchers from Oregon State University and two collaborating universities in China. OSU is filing for a patent on the discovery.
“PAHs are a widespread group of toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic compounds, but also one of the biggest concerns about oil spills,” said Xihou Yin, a research assistant professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy.
You most likely know about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that is seemingly never-ending and assumed you’d never see it mentioned on a website about good news. Well, it turns out enterprising people from the University of Pittsburgh have used the spill to test out their new polymer-based filter that successfully cleans water.
Here’s a video (might want to turn down you speakers):
And here’s a press release from the university:
Gao’s filter hinges on a polymer that is both hydrophilic-it bonds with the hydrogen molecules in water-and oleophobic, meaning that it repels oil. When the polymer is applied to an ordinary cotton filter, it allows water to pass through but not oil. The filter is produced by submerging the cotton in a liquid solution containing the polymer then drying it in an oven or in open air, Gao explained.
For the massive slick off the U.S. Gulf Coast, Gao envisions large, trough-shaped filters that could be dragged through the water to capture surface oil. The oil could be recovered and stored and the filter reused. Current cleanup methods range from giant containment booms and absorbent skimmers to controlled fires and chemical dispersants with questionable effects on human health and the environment.