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Hemp Fiber Could Absorb Oil From Gulf Coast Spill (Too Bad It’s Illegal to Grow Here…)

5/12/2010 12:00:00 AM

Tags: hemp, oil spill, gulf coast

The explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig caused an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that is easily the worst environmental disaster since the Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground in Alaska in 1989. Exxon Valdez spilled more than 10 million gallons of oil into the ocean. The BP oil spill is releasing an estimated 60,000 barrels of oil day, endangering human and animal lives.

Deepwater Horizon
The Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig exploded on April 20, 2010, leading to an oil spill that released an estimated 60,000 barrels of oil a day. Photo By SkyTruth/Courtesy Flickr. 

oily bird
The BP oil spill leaked an estimated 60,000 barrels oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico, endangering both human and animal lives. Photo By Marine Photobank/Courtesy Flickr. 

We need immediate action to clean up this environmental disaster. Matter of Trust, a nonprofit group, is collecting human hair and pet fur (which naturally absorb oil) to stuff into nylon bags. We’d like to see hemp—which was planted in the fields surrounding Chernobyl to remove radioactive elements after the 1886 explosion—put to work in the Gulf as well.

It’s illegal to grow hemp in the United States because it’s related to marijuana, so any hemp used for the cleanup would have to be imported. If hemp cultivation were allowed in the United States, we would have a real, renewable solution to this problem—and many others.

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