Analysis Shows Greater Pollution Effects After Hurricane Ida

It has been known for a while now that Hurricane Ida was a deadly and destructive hurricane last year, making it the second-most damaging hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana with intensive winds, tornado outbreaks, and flooding.

Now, Healthy Gulf has released a report indicating that the tropical nor’easter that hit on August 29, 2021 also left a trail of oil, gas, and chemical pollution in its wake.

The amount of pollution is far beyond what was originally reported after the storm hit. 

“Pollution events following storms do not occur in a vacuum,” said Naomi Yoder, Healthy Gulf staff scientist. “In fact, they are almost entirely predictable after the pattern is repeated year after year, storm after storm, spill after spill.”

In the months following the landfall of Hurricane Ida were aggregated through unorganized data from several different reporting agencies. 

The data released showed that there were 2,230 pollution events that occurred directly or indirectly because of the hurricane. Among those, 7.6 percent, or 171 were oil spills involving at least 229,633 gallons cumulatively.

There were 48 instances of air pollution reported, with over one million pounds of pollutants emitted.

That said, these totals are almost guaranteed to be undercounts, according to Healthy Gulf, as they were lacking severely in data protocols.

“For Hurricane Ida, similar to Hurricanes Delta, Laura, Rita, and Katrina, climate injustice and environmental injustice collide and compound, through the spillage of massive amounts of pollution in the air, soil,and water,” Yoder said.

The Healthy Gulf report goes on to state that the Gulf Coast communities cannot continue to go on with using fossil fuels. It is imperative, the report states, for the communities and ecosystems to commit to transitioning away from the use of fossil fuels to hopefully prevent future spills and other toxic disasters.

With the increasing frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones it is simply inevitable for something like this to happen again, the report states.

“Pollution is already a significant concern for human and ecological health on its own, but, combined with these other demographic factors, the situation starts to resemble international ‘sacrifice zones’ where people and ecosystems are discarded and regarded as lesser than others,” Yoder said. “Human rights and rights of nature are non-negotiable.”

To read the full report by Healthy Gulf:

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