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Things are looking a lot better for the residents and the birds of Northern California, twelve days after the 58,000-gallon oil spill near the Bay Bridge.
On Friday, thirty-eight birds that had been taken in for oil cleanup were released at Pillar Point, an area not affected by the oil spill. Many beaches have been re-opened, and a lot more are scheduled to re-open today, thanks to the non-stop work of cleanup crews, both paid and unpaid.
During the last ten days, the cleanup crews have managed to collect about 16,750 gallons of the spilt oil, some of which will be recycled. 580 gallons has been dispersed naturally. An additional 4,060 gallons of oil seems to have evaporated. The rest of the 58,000 gallons (can you calculate how much?) is thought to have sunk to the bottom of the ocean in the form of tar balls. While over 700 birds have died, 804 live oiled birds have been rescued, of which 244 have already been released.
The most heartening thing about this disaster is how the local community (people) has come together to help. Volunteers are outnumbering paid workers by 50%. This is especially commendable, given that people have to undergo four hours of training to learn how to handle toxic substances like oil. During the weekend's beach cleanup so many people showed up that only a "lucky" few could help pick up globs of tar.
More than 1,500 volunteers have undergone the four-hour training to remove the bunker oil from the beach. Even more are volunteering at the bird rescue sites. While the cleanup will continue for at least another month, a lot has already been done, and hopefully, the damage has been contained as much as possible.
Below watch an interesting video on how the birds are cleaned: