- environment - Oil spill
Chemical dispersant adds to 'toxic soup', says Cousteau Jr.
The grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau spoke of a "nightmare" Thursday after diving into the Gulf of Mexico and finding a "chemical dispersant/oil mixture" spread over vast areas of the Gulf.
AFP - Legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau would have been "horrified" by the devastation being wrought by a huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill, his grandson said after diving down into the seas.
"There's a chemical dispersant/oil mixture that is now... over vast areas of the Gulf and as we feared it's not concentrated at the surface," Philippe Cousteau Jr. told CNN, adding "this absolutely is a nightmare."
"We were about 15 to 20 feet down and it was dispersed into smaller and smaller particles throughout the water column in these billowing clouds that were just circling us, encompassing us in this toxic soup. It was very, very alarming."
Oil has been spewing into the seas since an April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, just off the Louisiana coast, and the spreading slick is seeping into the state's fragile marshlands.
"I know that my father and grandfather would have been doing this if they were alive and that they would have been just as horrified by what they saw as I was," Cousteau said in an entry on his blog (www.earthecho.org/blog).
During the "gruelling" dive which took three weeks to prepare, Cousteau and his team wore full hazmat diving suits and heavy hard hat helmets weighing some 30 pounds (15 kilos).
He said as the team were down there "wave after wave of oil/chemical dispersant mix washed over us."
"This was one of the most terrible experiences of my life seeing first hand what this oil spill looks like under the water and knowing that this contamination is spreading over hundreds of miles."
And as BP Wednesday readied a new bid to cap the leak, Cousteau warned: "Even if they do manage to cut off the oil tomorrow, the oil that has escaped will spread, following currents as far as the Arctic Circle via the Gulf Stream, wreaking havoc along the way.
"I can only hope that we learn from this and start to truly take the kind of drastic action necessary to begin the decades long road to recovery."