Oil spills contaminate drinking water supplies, and also affect the tourism and fishing industries for years to come, causing heavy losses to the economy as well as impacting fish stocks. Oil spills near to industries can also cause fires and explosions, leading to loss of life, while also contributing to air pollution to the region.
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill occured on April 20, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico when a BP-operated drilling rig exploded, killing eleven people. The total oil discharge is estimated to be 4.9 million barrels, and threatened 8 U.S national parks and more than 400 species living in the Gulf islands and marshlands, causing extensive damage to the Gulf's fishing and tourism industries.
The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill occured in Prince William Sound, Alaska on March 24, 1989 when the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef, spilling 10.8 million US gallons of crude oil into the waters of Prince William Sound, killing more than 100, 000 sea birds and other marine animals and severely damaging the aquatic biodiversity in the region.
The Ixtoc I Oil Spill occured when the exploratory oil well Ixtoc I suffered a blowout in the Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico on 3 June 1979, spilling 130 million US gallons of oil into the ocean, severely damaging the marine animal populations in the region and causing fishing catches to drop by 50-70%.