Thursday, May 19, 2022

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    Human hair can clean up oil spills

    An oil spill is an accidental or an intentional release of liquid petroleum and crude oil into the water bodies causing water pollution.

    Oil spills pollute the oceans daily through routine shipping, run-offs, and dumping. Oil spills usually cause marginalized problems in the water bodies however, long-term usage can be catastrophic to local marine wildlife such as fish, birds, and sea otters. Since oil cannot dissolve in water, it creates a thick slimy sludge in the water.

    This film prevents the penetration of oxygen in the water bodies and also blocks light for photosynthetic aquatic
    plants. Recently, it has been found that hair can absorb up to nine times its weight in oil. Many salons across the United Kingdom and Ireland have created hair blooms using nylon tubes and human hair that soak up oil. Human hair is a lipophilic(oil-loving) and a hydrophobic (water-repelling) material that repels water but actively attracts oil.

    A study by Berenger concluded that one kilogram of a human hair could absorb up to eight liters of oil, making it a highly effective material for cleaning up spills.

    An innovative and much-needed step towards the environment indeed!

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