BP oil disaster swallows beaches in Mississippi
By Noelle Leavitt
Oily waters slowly crept onto the shore July 7, at Long Beach — near Gulfport and Biloxi, MS — where swimmers tried to enjoy the bright and sunny day despite the gloomy truth about the BP oil disaster.
Globs of oil muck started flowing onto the beach around 3 p.m., and by nightfall large sheets of oil slick started to swallow the white-sandy shore where thousands of visitors flock each year.
Ann Myers and her young granddaughter, Paris Williams, 1, waded in the water, only to find tar balls and glossy-oil mousse at their feet.
“I hate it. I think it’s just awful,” Myers said. “Because we always enjoyed coming here, and the grand babies can’t get out and play like they normally do.”
The little girl had oil smeared on her hands and neck from the contaminated water.
“She just picked up an oil ball. It was floating around in the water,” Myers said of her granddaughter.
The oily waters were deceiving to the eye, as many couldn’t decipher if the water was safe for swimming.
“It’s hard to see in the water,” said Greg May, Gulfport resident. “It’s really easy to see on the beach, though.”
Despite the obvious pollution, he still took a dip in the gulf.
“We’re going straight home to shower,” he said, adding that it’s really difficult not to get into the water despite the oil, because he loves the beach.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality had yet to close the foul waters from public use.
The scene was much worse around 9 p.m., when the oil slick nearly tripled in size, prompting local officials to increase the number of clean up crews on the shore.
Government officials also increased the clean up hours to a 24-hour cycle.