Disaster research literature also tells us that following major public emergencies, disasters and catastrophes, organizations evolve and new organizational structures emerge, especially in reaction to the impacts on the community and social consequences. The US national policy to prevent and mitigate environmental pollution in navigable waters, both coastal and inland, is executed through laws, regulations, and procedures. Since oil products include a lot of common fuels, it is obvious that oil spills may happen at high rates and in many locations, including residential areas. Abstract The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and the 2010 BP oil spill were the largest and most ecologically damaging releases of oil in North American history. Even when lethal impacts are not observed, oil can make fish and shellfish unsafe for humans to eat. The effects of oil spills can have wide ranging impacts that are often portrayed by the media as long lasting environmental disasters. Oil in the Ocean (Ocean Today video) Explore: Oil and Chemical Spills . Our ability to manage a successful response could further mature if we adapt to be more collaborative, per the indicators for organizational resilience (Tierney 2009). Previous work recognized that public and stakeholder reactions to, and perceptions about, an oil spill response can influence the overall success of response. I’d like to believe that we can adapt and manage, and dodge the suffering alluded to by Thad Allen. “They rely very heavily on that not only for their food, but also their culture, their way of life, their rituals. Oil spills can damage the environment and the wildlife and marine life that depend on it. Human health and safety for the general public, including illness, is listed as a KBD and is sufficiently broad to encompass psychosocial impacts. Some might remark, “Satisfying the public is not the responsibility of oil spill responders”; their job is to manage the oil spill and mitigate its effects. Shorelines are typically teeming with species that flourish on the water's surface, including birds, sea otters, fish, and invertebrates. You may be subject to different privacy and other policies than those in place on this site. With human-caused disasters, Ritchie adds, there’s a “loss of control” that people experience. The immediate response by industry and government must mobilize enough appropriate response resources (people and equipment) to contain most of the oil at /near the source to protect resources at risk. Crisis communications, i.e., how an organization handles critical situations that put an organization in peril, is one PIO responsibility. Ritchie’s research into the social effects of oil spills from both Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon, as well as her social impact assessment work for the Gitga’at, have continued to inform other communities how best to prepare for oil spills — at both a physical and psychosocial level. The consequences of oil spills Marine habitats are complex relationships between organisms and their environment. This is also true for most personnel who represent the potential polluters, or Responsible Parties (RPs), as they are known under OPA 90. Ritchie noted that when it comes to psychosocial stress — the interrelation between social factors and individual thought and behavior — the more deliberate an act is, the more time the effect will last. It was like a sort of PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder],” Ritchie said. There are three avenues for the OSLTF to pay for oil spill costs and damages: (1) Removal costs, which are the costs to prevent, minimize, or mitigate oil pollution; (2) Natural Resource Damages (NDR); and (3) Claims for uncompensated damages or removal costs. Starting April 20, 2010 and lasting 87 days, over 130 million gallons of oil leaked out int… Toxic contamination of the biophysical environment by significant oil spills has direct social consequences in that both ecological and sociocultural systems are challenged (Picou, 2009). When an oil spill happens there will be no entry of oxygen in the sea. Lines and paragraphs break automatically. A significant challenge is how to adapt the existing regulatory framework to at least consider human dimensions and demonstrate social responsibility, given that oil spill preparedness and response is driven by environmental compliance, is a collateral duty, and has limited funding to do what is required, let alone do more. Ritchie said that for communities in Alaska, seeing coverage of the 2010 spill was like experiencing Exxon Valdez all over again. Learn more in our. Does it really matter if the public thinks a response has been carried out well, or if the response addresses their perceptions about risks and what's important, or if we address socio-economic impacts sooner than later? Generally oil spills are not viewed as a public health issue since operational practice keeps the public away from the hazards. In a Sea Grant workshop last year, as part of the series “Regional priority setting for health, social, and economic disruption from spills,” community members, emergency responders, and researchers gathered to discuss the physical, mental, social, economic, cultural, and spiritual impacts from oil spills. In a sense, human dimensions have been somewhat “on the radar” as important for oil spill response to be successful. Other often ignored, poorly defined and understood, intangible adverse impacts stem from stress around a technological disaster. If not, it seems likely that response organizations will receive criticism and low marks in public discourse. Oil spills are harmful to marine mammals and birds as well as fish and shellfish . Personnel from the NPFC, which administers the OSLTF, routinely provide instruction on oil spill funding to FOSCs and other senior federal and state and industry incident commanders who could one day be members of Unified Command. Oil spills have a number of effects on the environment and economy. This discussion of evolving needs to update and adapt the NRS is framed by: (1) considering how the current institutional framework is constrained in addressing human dimensions, (2) learning about the global trend toward social responsibility and from social science research about how human dimensions impacts occur and can be mitigated, and (3) considering the potential benefits of incorporating social responsibility into the NRS and improving our ability to achieve a “best response.”. doi: https://doi.org/10.7901/2169-3358-2014.1.2159. This paper draws on the author's direct experience with human dimensions gained from response to several oil spills, including the Exxon Valdez (1989), the Transredes pipeline spill in Bolivia (2000), and the DWH oil spill (2010), and research on oil spill risk communication. We will not use the email for anything other than notifying you of blog activity, and it will not be displayed with your comment. However, public perceptions regarding health risks from oil spills and dispersants have been reported in the media, reports, and journals (Belter 2013). Oil spill has direct and indirect effects on human beings and environment among which are the following:Problem for Ecosystem: Oil spill creates problem for the ecosystem most especially aquatic beings. 1  When an oil slick from a large spill reaches a beach, oil coats and clings … Beyond the traditional ecological impacts of oil spills, oil spills can also affect people; these are the human dimensions of oil spills. In interviews with community members, Ritchie discovered on overall sense that the people were tired and wanted to move on but that it wouldn’t be until the litigation was complete that they would finally have closure. Please help us prevent automated spam submissions: Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. Some specialists have full-time assignments for oil spill preparedness and response, such as oil spill removal organizations (OSROs) and Special Teams under the NCP (section 300.145), e.g., Scientific Support Coordinators (SSCs), but their full time oil spill roles are the exception, not the rule. Local knowledge along with family and social networks has provided the inherent resilience necessary to contend with ecological damages in the past. Traveling to Prince Rupert takes the better part of a day. The size of the impact can be of such extent that it is almost impossible to deal with; it could for example increase the man-made dead zone (areas in the ocean in which there is not enough oxygen due to massive algae growth) causing marine life to exti… Contact Us | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Website Satisfaction Survey | Information Quality | Accessibility | FOIA, Website owner: Office of Response and Restoration | NOAA's Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | US Department of Commerce | USA.gov, By Alyssa Gray, Office of Response and Restoration. For instance, the contamination of local ecosystems can impact communities who rely on said ecosystems to survive, with crops and food sources becoming poisonous or disappearing altogether as a result of food chains being destabilised. Social responsibility is a form of self-regulation which is being integrated into businesses, government and other organizations to operate in a socially responsible way (ISO 26000). “People in Cordova had a similar relationship with the area as the Gitga’at had, but there’s still variation in how they use and rely on the natural resources,” Ritchie said, adding that these variations are why a “cookie-cutter approach” to preparedness and response can’t always work. Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, Disaster Recovery as Translational Applied Sociology: Transforming Chronic Community Distress, Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council (PWS RCAC), Coping with Technological Disasters: A User Friendly Guidebook, Disaster Response: Research Findings and their Implications for Resilience Measures, CARRI Research Report 6. Wilbanks (2008) defines resilient communities as those locales and regions that maintain four key elements: (1) the ability to anticipate disruptive events, (2) the capability to respond to them effectively, (3) the mechanisms to recover from them equitably and efficiently, and (4) the commitment to take steps to reduce vulnerabilities to future events. 2011-01. Damage caused by events such as oil spills compromise entire food chains. People were also impacted by a constant influx of outsiders — responders, media, officials, scientists, and researchers were all converging on the scene. Aquatic beings cannot thrive in toxic environment and that makes oil pollution a disservice to them. The process involved a lot of paperwork, and repetitive efforts to document, over time, the impacts people were experiencing. Retrieved from: National Pollution Funds Center and the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund Presentation for Federal On-Scene Coordinator Crisis Management Course, USCG Marine Safety Schools. The more fish larvae … Claims for uncompensated damages cannot be submitted for personal injury, including loss of income solely from personal injury, punitive damages, pain and suffering, and legal costs (Buie, 2013). For example, oil on exposed rocky shorelines is removed by high wave energy, and these areas recover faster than sheltered shorelines. The response community is at a crossroads to: recognize the inevitability of public judgment, evolve to adapt the NRS and ICS, act proactively during response to limit the escalation of public concerns, and identify ways to mitigate human dimension impacts. Researchers distinguish between natural (acts of God) and technological (human-caused) disasters. They lead to a corrosive community characterized by unusually high levels of tension, conflict, ongoing litigation and chronic psychological stress. Oils spills are defined as the release1 of any type of oil that contaminates numerous environments including, land, air and water but primarily affect the ocean. And what about psychosocial impacts (which refers to the interrelationship of social context and psychological health and well-being)? Oil spills can cause serious damage to fisheries and mariculture resources. Oil spills coat everything they touch and become unwelcome but long-term parts of every ecosystem they enter. Photographs of oiled wildlife and oiled shorelines convey at a glance the effects of marine pollution on the environment. Cleaning an oil spill is very expensive and the costs get spread to government agencies, non-profits and the oil transport company itse… They can also cause physical, mental, and financial stress to people as individuals. In addition to oil recovery, control, and cleanup, responders were, and will continue to be, challenged to demonstrate that the best that can be done is in fact being done to protect environmental resources at risk. The OSLTF can be used to pay for claims for: uncompensated removal costs; loss of profits or earning capacity; loss of Federal, State, or Local government revenues; costs to state or local governments for increased public services; loss of subsistence use of natural resources; damages to real or personal property; and natural resource damages. Resilience indicators of entities with responsibility for disaster management in a pre-disaster context include: shared understanding of hazards faced by communities, collaboration on hazard and vulnerability assessments, collective identification of gaps in capabilities, formation of horizontal and vertical coordinating bodies and MOUs to enable coordination, and addressing both interoperability among communications/information technologies and issues of “cultural interoperability” among diverse responding organizations. Ritchie and her team were contacted by the Gitga’at First Nation in British Columbia, Canada. Oil spill scientists have evidence of environmental recovery and resilience (in habitat and organisms) following oil spills. The US institutional framework as currently practiced inhibits addressing many human dimensions impacts. As a sociologist specializing in human-caused disaster events, Ritchie has listened to communities over the years that have firsthand experience dealing with the impacts of oil spills. Understandably, the legal teams for both RPs and government decision makers advise their clients to avoid actions and statements that could compromise current or potential cases, give an advantage to plaintiff attorneys, or set a disadvantageous precedent in future litigations. University of Alaska Fairbanks: Alaska Sea Grant College Program, Reassuring or Risky: The Presentation of Seafood Safety in the Aftermath of the British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Preparing for Success: A Systems Approach to Oil Spill Response, Paper presented to the Five Years after the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Conference. Ritchie has since worked on several other major spills, including Deepwater Horizon, which is at present the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Because social responsibility is increasingly used as a measure of the overall performance of businesses and organizations, adapting oil spill preparedness and response procedures to be more inclusive of human dimensions is worthy of consideration. International Oil Spill Conference Proceedings 1 May 2014; 2014 (1): 2159–2171. Technological disasters, conversely, disrupt communities on multiple levels (PWS RCAC, 2004). It might be prudent to adapt and incorporate concepts of social responsibility into preparedness and response going forward. Disasters are complex, social, crisis situations which result in interrelated economic, social and psychological impacts on communities, organizations, families, and individuals. OPA 90 created the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF). April 30, 2010 Link Copied. Those who have a stake in managing the response may not be viewed as objective, trustworthy sources of information about potential risks. “Despite the different locations, many of the social impacts are similar if not the same,” Ritchie said. Oil spills are usually perceived negatively owing to the overwhelming impact to the environment and people’s livelihood especially those who are natural resource dependent. Long-term effects of oil spills in Bodo, Nigeria Environmental devastation, ruined economy and deteriorating health afflict Bodo community years after Shell oil spill. Oil spills can make drinking water sources unfit for use and is very expensive to put right. Sea birds like the pelicans can also become the victim of oil spills. Subsequently, two Coast Guard senior personnel developed measurements of success (Kuchin and Hereth, 1999) based on the CSFs to provide metrics which could guide responders toward conducting a “best response” for all oil spills. 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