OC Oil SpillHow to help, where to donate, and why this affects our surrounding ecosystems.
The impacts of the fossil fuel industry occur at every stage from extraction to disposal. These oil spills are dangerous to humans, animals, and surrounding environments and happen more often than they should. The air pollutants from fossil fuels extraction sites and oil refineries that are on land have harmful effects on the neighboring communities, as well. Low-income communities and BIPOC are exposed daily due to disproportionate amounts of toxic chemicals that are associated with major health and safety risks being released near the most vulnerable. Proprietary trade laws allow oil companies to keep their oil and chemical mixtures a secret. With this 127,000 gallon oil spill being right off the coast of our neighboring shore, we felt a calling to speak on this topic and wanted to come up with some resources to help.
Why do oil spills affect surrounding ecosystems?
Oil spills are extremely toxic to public health and marine life. The crude oil mixes across the surface water as well as diving deeper into the water and to the ocean floor. This affects everything and anything that comes in contact with or anywhere near the oil that causes major health risks especially to the animals living in it. Communities surrounding the spills are heavily impacted as well and results in public beach access being prohibited until it is cleaned up due to the health risks associated with contact from oil company's unknown toxic mixtures. Scientists have reported irreparable harms to humans exposed to oil and gas spills. Beach communities rely on their oceans for many different reasons and protecting them is crucial for future generations to be able to rely on them as well.
How to help
While our beaches in Southern California have been reopened it is still advised to enter the water with caution. Officials also said water quality testing will continue twice a week for at least the next two weeks and to still keep an eye out for harmed wildlife. As an additional safety measure, Huntington Beach hired an independent contractor who tested 40 different sites and the only location where oil was detected was a non-toxic level located in the water just north of Warner Avenue. Sadly this is right around the corner from our Cleobella Boutique which is a huge reason we felt necessary to speak up and protect our community. Volunteering, donating, or raising awareness are some of the few things we can offer to our community at this time.
For support or to report oiled wildlife contact:
UC Davis Oiled Wildlife Care Network or call 1-(877)-823-6926
The California Department of Fishing and Wildlife is offering a 30 minute training program for people wanting to help out. With requirements being:
- Be 18 or older
- Be able to lift 25 pounds
- Follow County Public Health COVID procedures while participating in the clean up
Where to donate:
Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center
Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy