Thursday, October 17, 2013

Oil Companies are Still the Bad Guy

Our global economy's increasing demand for gas and oil has, of course, never come without a cost. Oil spills are a particularly damaging side effect, but most Americans will only ever see its effects by way of a couple commercials featuring a few animals covered in black gunk set to uplifting music. The other side of the damage, the one affecting the livelihoods of entire families, is much more disconcerting. This article focuses on a rural area of India where families rely on fishing for a portion of their food and income. Recent oil spills caused by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) have caused the death of local fish and the destruction of the surrounding area.

For me, the most concerning part of this article is the apparent lack of concern and understanding shown by the representatives of the ONGC. Mistakes happen, oil lines break, and while it's a very terrible thing, it can't be undone and all that's left for the company to do is to help fix the problems it caused. However, when the writer of the article interviewed the families affected by the spill, they said that the ONGC really only cleaned up their half of the mess - repaired the pipeline, probably skimmed some oil off the top of the water - and moved on...leaving entire villages out of business for months after. Oil spills have happened in this area in the past and compensation for the families affected has never been given. It seems so basic; ONGC took away the livelihoods of hundreds of lower-class people - the least a large, profitable company can do is understand what the needs of the people are and do their best to meet them.

Oil companies are already doing their fair share to help take down the environment, so they should at least dedicate an allotment of their resources to help protect the rights of the people, like these fishermen, that they inadvertently harm.

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