Kate Mackenzie Oil-soaked birds highlight environmental problems

The Deepwater Horizon tragedy started out with relatively few of the sorts of dramatic images that characterised, say, the Exxon Valdez disaster.

Even as oil from the well is being captured, photos of oil-dredged birds such as this have emerged in the past few days are exposing more vividly the environmental effect of the spill:

A laughing gull coated in heavy oil wallows in the surf June 4, 2010 on East Grand Terre Island, Louisiana. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon incident is coming ashore in large volumes across southern Louisiana coastal areas.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Win McNamee/Getty Images

A Houston Chronicle journalist pondered whether the photos might have the same effect as Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle’, which led to new regulations for the meat industry. It’s already a certainty that the regulatory regime around deepwater oil drilling will change. While it’s perhaps impossible to know how much further effect these sorts of images might have, they are certainly more striking than tar balls and oil booms.

More pictures here.