Nature and Environment

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Are There Better Ways to Clean Up the Gulf Oil Spill?

5/19/2010 2:19:47 PM

Tags: gulf oil spill, environment, water pollution

 As British Petroleum continues to try new tactics to stem the massive flow of oil coming from the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, the company’s methods for actually cleaning up the spill have mostly been confined to using booms to keep oil from shores, using skimmers to collect it from the surface and spraying chemical dispersants to break the oil down. But there have been movements among concerned groups to employ some simpler, more natural oil removal techniques.

One natural oil cleanup method is to use hair and fur to soak it up. Nonprofit environmental organization Matter of Trust oversees a program that gives hair salons, pet groomers and individuals the opportunity to donate hair and fur clippings, which Matter of Trust stuffs into used nylon stockings to make booms that are capable of both containing and absorbing oil.

Particularly in Florida, there is also increasing interest in using hay in a similar way. Officials in Walton County, Fla., which is near the western end of the Florida panhandle, implemented a plan earlier this month to prevent oil from washing ashore, which included stacking bales of hay on the beach. The plan was met with opposition, though, as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection disapproved. Critics of using hay say it would only cause a bigger mess, though the video below does show that hay could be at least somewhat effective in cleaning up the mess.

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7/8/2010 3:56:39 PM
what method that suppose to be used if we consider with the efficiency and the cost to

6/7/2010 12:56:06 PM
I agree with Harry about the dispersant being a HUGE mistake. I live in coastal Mississippi and I don't know if it is national news but everyone here knows that BP is not allowed in their OWN country to use this dispersant. Also after seeing interviews with people closely linked with the Exon Valdez spill in Alaska, they blame the dispersant for wiping out many of the fisheries and some of them have NEVER recovered. Never is a long time folks! but hey this thing is so crazy down here.... They brought the President in to look at the oil spill and clean up effort and someone brought in BUS LOADS of people to pretend to be cleaning up the beach and as soon as the cameras stopped rolling the pretenders got on their buses went home. Hey we wouldn't have BEEN so MAD IF THEY HAD AT LEAST STAYED AND WORKED OUT one DAY.... Angi Wild Acre Farms Mississippi

6/7/2010 10:57:46 AM
Better late than never does not apply here. I heard about these guy's 2 weeks ago and they are still talking about the concept? Hello anybody home here? This concept needed to be applied while the oil was still off shore. Get the Military involved and get the straw out there now! Then put the straw into a press or centrifuge and re-claim some of the cost. Bail up the recycled straw and burn to generate electricity. But quit talking and start doing!

6/7/2010 10:25:24 AM
The use of dispersants/surfactants is a huge mistake. The spill is a tragedy, but converting the two dimensional mess (oil separate from water) into a three dimensional (oil emulsified in water) horror compounds the problem by another exponent. After emulsification of the crud(e) we have NO choice but to allow it to impact the entire ocean. While it is an oil/water system there is at least an option of skimming or absorption. What is needed is (1) massive skimming operations (2)massive shoreline absorption operations, and (3) a huge vacuum attached to the pipe attached to the leak so that no more oil will escape. Dispersants are the political solution - OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND.

Tom Roberts
5/25/2010 2:54:48 PM
A better way to aid the cleanup would be to tell the EPA, Corp of Engineers, and Coast Guard to get the h**l out of the picture and let BP apply the several surfactants they have been trying to apply, but have been repeatedly stopped by the government agencies, DUH? I guess the Feds would rather flex their muscles than try to speed up the cleanup. Just more bureacacy!!! Which is better; let the oil continue to accumulate or break it up? The surfactants have been APPROVED by the EPA, so why not go ahead and use them??

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