Dispersant disperses the oil but does not make it degrade. It is a cosmetic approach, by removing the spill; it seems to solve the problem. Dennis Ray Schneider, Ph.D., VP & Director of Research & Development explains; “The dispersants used are making the oil disperse into tiny droplets, actually increasing the area of contact between the oil and the ocean water. This increased area means that more of the toxic components of the oil are in contact with the water and the marine life in the water. They are used because they reduce the visible oil slick and the mechanical impact of the spill on wildlife (e.g. oil covered bird photo opportunities by enraged environmentalists). The problems caused by the oil toxicity are still present after using the dispersant—they are just made more out of sight and probably hopefully then, out of mind. The actual toxic effect of the spill on the Gulf of Mexico waters has yet to be assessed.” The dispersant is made from crude oil products and BP produces the feedstock chemicals that are used to make dispersants so they or other oil companies are indirectly profiting from their own solution.
Microbes are bacteria and that word confuses and frightens a lot of people when in fact 99.9% of all bacteria in the world are useful and not harmful, that is less than 1%.
Marine microorganisms will naturally degrade the oil over time as they have for millions of years. Oil has been below the ocean surface for as long and “mother nature” may know what is best, but in a situation such as the oil spill from Deepwater Horizon, she needs help to speed the healing process along. Using chemicals to correct environmental problems because real science may not be understood, such as the use of bacteria, is the "quick fix" syndrome many have in the U.S. while other countries like Brazil, China, Ecuador and European countries are more inclined to use bacteria/microbial products to clean up environmental hazards. I wonder why?
Bioremediation of the coastal regions will be the next step, and ongoing.