After a devastating oil spill that ensued when a Japanese bulk carrier ran aground off the coast of Mauritius on July 25, the people of Mauritius have united in cutting off their hair to help soak up the mess.
Locals have begun building floating booms out of straw, sugar cane leaves, and human hair stuffed into fabric sacks and tubes of tights.
In the wake of environmental devastation after a major oil spill off Mauritius, the locals have banded together, cutting off their hair to make barriers and contain the spillage.
After the Mauritian Government declared a state of emergency following an oil spill of around 1000 tonnes and the potential for further damage, locals have taken matters into their own hands.
“Citizens are building kilometers of floating booms to contain the spillage and we have been fabricating these with sugar cane leaves but we are also making it with hair because hair is a great absorbent for oil,” Mauritian MP Joanna Berenger told BBC.
To hear that people are donating their hair to be used as an absorbent for the oil spill off the coast of Mauritius 🇲🇺 indicates that there’s still hope for humanity… we are a species of limitless abilities …. we just need to apply ourselves. pic.twitter.com/ogWCeLStbZ
— Zumbi (@zmusiba) August 11, 2020
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My paradise island home of #mauritius just suffered a dreadful oilspill. This is a disaster for our wildlife & environment, for our fragile natural ecosystems & for our economy which relies on tourism. They’re asking for donations of hair to help clean up the oil. There’s not much I can do, but I can do this. I love my long hair but hair grows… . @vanilla_village in the West is collecting hair & offering free cuts today. I challenge any #mauricien / #mauricienne to join me. (Esp @barefootleila & @sofgrant !!!) I also heard that you can go lend a hand with cleanup at Pte Desiny. . #savemauritiusreef #wakashio #ilemaurice
Human hair is lipophilic – meaning that it repels water but attaches to anything made of oil – which is useful in the separation of oil and water. One kilogram of hair can absorb 8 litres of oil, according to Berenger.
Locals are being encouraged to trim their locks for a cause, with hairdressers even offering free haircuts for those who are willing to donate.
Fellow warden currently on the mainland sent this through. Free haircuts at the local mall to collect hair to help absorb some of the #oilspill in #mauritius.
The official response may have been severely lacking but the community are coming together and it’s fantastic. pic.twitter.com/mBXNQ5PjDE
— Bethan Govier (@Bethan_Govier) August 8, 2020
It’s very “on brand” for 2020 that I’m looking up if I can send my hair to Mauritius to help clear up an oil spill 😔
— Lu Do (@RedLoocee) August 11, 2020
If you’d like to help out and donate to Mauritius, head over to this CrowdFund campaign organised by local non-profit Eco-Sud, or alternatively this Facebook fundraiser organised by charity Karmagawa.
Mauritius does not have the capacity to remove (tonnes) of oil on their own. Mauritians rely on these waters as their source of food and income. The damage that this has caused is devastating for the future of the island #SaveMauritiusReef https://t.co/1Gfw98VDxE pic.twitter.com/PJqcEZVEF2
— #SAVEMAURITIUSREEF (@hannizzle_) August 10, 2020