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

Reader Contribution by Sean Rosner

 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.

Need Help? Call 1-800-234-3368