Mauritians using human hair to control major oil spill

Mauritians using human hair to control major oil spill

Activists and locals in Mauritius have been using human hair, among other things, to control an oil spill from a Japanese ship that hit a reef two weeks ago in the Indian Ocean.

About 1,000 tonnes of oil may have leaked from the ship MV Wakashio, estimate conservationists, who fear a major ecological disaster in the island nation whose economy relies heavily on tourism.

Although the leak has stopped, the damaged ship with several cracks in the hull may still have 2,000 tonnes of oil, which could pose a serious threat if the vessel falls apart.

Mauritians have been contributing to the damage-control efforts with booms that are made out of sugar cane leaves, plastic bottles and even human hair.

People are cutting their own hair and floating it in sea to control the oil spill, island resident Romina Tello told Reuters.

“Hair absorbs oil but not water,” Tello, founder of an eco-tourism agency, told the agency by phone.

According to Tello, a campaign has been urging people to donate hair. Salons are giving discounts to those offering hair for the conservation efforts, Reuters said.

Conservationists have been making nets using hair and leaves and putting them in sea to stop the oil from spreading.

Mauritius has been in a state of emergency following the oil spill, which has caused the death of many varieties of fish and seabirds and affected at least one island nature reserve.

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