The Exxon Valdez was one of the worst environmental disasters in history – twenty years later, the effects still remain, according to scientists.
In 1989, the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in the Prince William Sound of Alaska. As a result, 10.9 million gallons of oil was released into the sound, as well as 1,250 miles of shoreline. The fishing industry and the inhabiting wildlife were greatly affected as a result. Cleaning efforts were concluded in 1993, as the oil was expected to dissipate in the coming years.
However, scientists have reported that the oil is only dissipating at a 4% rate. That statement contradicts an early report which said the oil was dissipating at a 70% rate. Lack of oxygen and nutrients to sustain the micro-organisms that break down the oil are mainly to blame, according to a research team from Temple University.
Approximately 20,000 gallons still remain in the area, and the team from Temple has been researching new methods to speed up the dispersal of the remaining oil.