As the oil slick moves closer to the coast the Irish lawyer of the United States Department of Labor, Patricia M. Smith, is planning the massive cleanup job.
Thousands of cleanup and hazmat workers will need to be employed and trained to clean up the millions of gallons of oil that is heading towards the coast.
“We are on the brink of a potential disaster on the Gulf Coast and we’re really working very hard to gear up,” said Smith.
A 100-ton concrete and steel box is being lowered down to the BP oil well in an attempt to seal up the leak. Robots will work to secure it over the main leak.
The oil has now reached the islands off the coast of Louisiana. Already dead jellyfish are washing up on the islands shores and tragically birds can be seen diving into the spill.
It is estimated that 200,000 gallons of oil per day are flowing out of the well. This is the United States largest oil spill since the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska in 1989.
Smith described how the coastal cleanup team will begin. She said, “There are going to be about 30 staging posts along the coast and we’re talking thousands of jobs.
“The first thing they need to know is what the hazards are, what the problems are and how to they protect themselves.”
It will be a messy and laborious job but is will also be hugely dangerous as cleanup units will be dealing highly toxic substances.
She said “Once they actually start cleaning up we have to make sure that they have the right safety equipment and that they are following safe practices.”
Unfortunately organizers such as Smith are dealing with a lot of unknowns.
Smith said “They don’t know when they’re going to fix the oil leak. We still have thousands of gallons of oil coming out of the well every day. There are a lot of unknowns.
“They expected the oil to hit the shore last week. In that regard this delay is helpful because it helps us to get organized more.”