Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tiger Booms

These are the tiger booms that I have been mentioning. The orange tubes are filled with water and are supposed to form a barrier to prevent oil from getting too far up the beach when the tides bring in the heavy slicks. There are several places that I have see where the tubes are deflated or are simply missing. Behind the tubes is a ridge of sand. I can't really see how that is an effective barrier for anything other than humans: this is the line past which only clean up workers are allowed.

This is for my own safety, I have been told by security officials. If I were to pass this sand ridge I would have to be decontaminated upon my return. The decontamination process has been described differently to different people. Chris was told that he would have to have his shoes decontaminated. He told me that somebody from Washington was so frustrated at this that he threw his shoes at the security guys and stomped off to his helicopter barefoot. When I asked what the decontamination process entailed, Ginger and I were told that we would be stripped naked and hosed off. But perhaps this is only the procedure for young women.
The workers need only rinse off their boots in these kiddie pools before crossing back over the tiger booms, a process which somehow seems a lot less humiliating than what we were threatened with.
Here are the rakes and shovels used to clean up the oil. Having been raked across the sand, the oil globs are shoveled into plastic bags. After only a couple of shovel fulls, these bags are tied off. It seems quite wasteful to this lay-person.
Everywhere I go on this island the sight of tiger booms and plastic bags is constant.

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