Peru: Hair salons are collecting their customers’ hair to fight the oil spill

In Lima, the Peruvian capital, this hair salon offers free haircuts to encourage citizens to donate their hair to help fight the oil spill that happened two weeks ago. Objective: Shape sausages to be thrown into the sea to absorb fuel and clear the ocean to save the marine fauna.

On January 15, an oil spill ravaged the Peruvian coast. The origin of this ecological drama was a volcanic eruption that occurred 10,000 kilometers away in the Tonga Islands. The heavy swell caused by the latter shook an oil tanker moored in the Pacific Ocean as it unloaded its cargo. For example, 6,000 barrels ended up in the sea, the equivalent of one million liters of oil.

As a result, some 20 beaches are now polluted and thousands of birds have become suffocated or trapped. On Tuesday, a new leak at the plant of the Spanish company Repsol, already involved, again raised the country’s concerns. An environmental emergency has been declared for three months.

In this context, a general mobilization has been launched to clean up the 50 kilometers of beach affected by the disaster, including in the hairdressing salons. Some offer free haircuts to collect their clients’ hair. Other collection points are scattered throughout the city. Even pets are put to work grooming.

One kilogram of hair can absorb up to eight liters of hydrocarbons. The sausages formed by the hairs (long or short) allow the water to pass through while retaining the hydrocarbons. A much more effective filter than plastic sausages that only stop the spread of oil spills.

In 2020, this innovative solution was successfully deployed along the coasts of Mauritius.

Leave a Comment