It’s been four years since BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and caused millions of gallons of crude oil to fill the Gulf of Mexico — just long enough for many Americans who don’t live on Louisiana’s coast to forget that the British drilling company caused an unprecedented amount of damage to the Gulf’s ecosystem and to the people who depended on it to survive.
But a documentary profiling the oil rig explosion is bringing the disaster back into the headlines of major news outlets, and Americans are realizing that the effects of the oil spill are still wreaking havoc on the coastlines of Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas.
The documentary, titled “The Great Invisible” and directed by Margaret Brown, is a 92-minute film that allows viewers an inside look at the catastrophe caused by BP. The initial explosion, which killed 11 crew members working on the Deepwater Horizon, is shown burning brightly against the night sky. Crowds of birds covered in thick, slick oil are shown sitting motionless, waiting for aid workers equipped with towels and bottles of dish soap. Scenes of families living in decrepit trailer parks are juxtaposed with the flashy suits of BP’s top officials at (multiple) court hearings.
To make matters worse, a study conducted by David Valentine and published in the National Academy of Sciences has recently stated that about 31% of the estimated two million barrels of oil that went “missing in the ocean” has now settled on the ocean floor, forming a “bathtub ring” more than 1,200 square miles in size. Valentine notes that he isn’t quite sure how this settled oil ring will affect the Gulf’s ecosystem, and that the remaining “missing” oil droplets are still unaccounted for — but in both cases, further research will most likely turn up more distressing results.
The documentary and the study both reinforce something that Americans already know: the oil drilling industry is important for our lifestyles, but that safety measures should always be the top priority. There’s no way to take back the damage that BP has already caused, but it’s possible to prevent further damage, caused by the oil industry, in regions outside the Gulf Coast.
“We believe communication solutions are a crucial component for the work force in day to day operations to provide contact with many departments, locations and personnel,” says Bevan Hoynick, President, Benchmark Data Solutions. “Projects require strong communication services in order to ensure strict safety measures. We have a long-standing and ongoing commitment to health, safety and the environment in all aspects of our operations. This commitment creates a culture within Benchmark that promotes continuous improvement through awareness and risk reduction.”
As New York Times reporter Stephen Holden notes, “The Great Invisible” isn’t going to be a pleasant viewing experience for most Americans. But ignoring BP’s oil spill and neglecting to make the industry safer isn’t something that oil companies can afford to do.