The oil companies see the Arctic as an opportunity to supply the world’s demand for fossil fuels for many years to come, but environmental activists are horrified by the prospect of drilling in such a beautiful, remote and often dangerous region.
The Arctic literally holds an estimated 90 billion barrels of oil (13% of the world’s recoverable oil reserves), up to 50 trillion cubic meters of natural gas (about 30% of the world’s natural gas reserves), and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids and these are the factors that have made Arctic region full of pollution.
Minerals are extracted from the ground of the Arctic Tundras in Russia, Greenland, and Canada. These sites not only are ravaged, but harmful dusts and gases are produced which cause air pollution.
When dust settles on neighboring ponds, lakes, and streams these waters become uninhabitable by fish, animals and even people. Oil drilling is popularly supported all over the world.
Some Arctic areas, like in Canada near the Mackenzie Delta and at Alaska in Prudhoe Bay, oil drilling is big business. Unfortunately, oil drilling, like mining, hurts the tundra.
It pollutes the air, water, and ground. Both mining and drilling take land away from the arctic tundra animals. This is because they both produce large amounts of noise pollution, which drives animals from their homes.
Plants cannot even survive around mining and drilling sites because of the pollution. Parts of the Russian tundra are an excellent example of arctic tundra land being destroyed by mining. Oil spills are far harder to clean up in icy waters.
The oil industry is trying to comfort any opposition by promising that they will be cautious and responsible whilst working in the region. However critics are still alarmed by the rate at which everything seems to be progressing.
Last week a group of 573 scientists wrote to President Barack Obama, pleading caution in the authorization of any gas and oil activity in the Arctic Ocean North of Alaska, and claiming that more research is still needed.
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