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A Hairy Situation

Jessup, MD

In a perfect world, ships and other manufactured machines wouldn’t spill oil in the oceans. The oceans would be clean and not polluted. Marine life would be healthy and unaffected. There would be no need to spend thousands of dollars to clean up oil spills.

Instead in the world today, about 1.3 million gallons of petroleum are spilled in vessels and pipelines in a typical year (according to the U.S Department of Energy). The oil spills have directly harmed as many as 25,900 marine mammals. Cleaning up oil spills is also very expensive, as heavy fuels and crude oil costs about $15,000-$16,000 to clean up one tonne of spilled oil.

Oil spills occur because of accidents involving tankers, barges, pipelines, refineries, drilling rigs and storage facilities, and recreational boats. Oil spills are harmful to marine life because the chemical contents of the oil are poisonous, ingestion of oil can cause gastrointestinal irritation, ulcers, bleeding, diarrhea, and digestive complications,

and the oil destroys the insulating ability of fur-bearing mammals, such as sea otters. Not to mention, oil spills are difficult to clean up because the oil mixes with water and can create an oil/water mixture that can take on a thick, pudding-like consistency.

To address this problem, there is a cheaper solution to clean up spills: hair! Human and animal hair is very absorbent to oil so they could theoretically absorb and clean up oil spills at a very cheap price.

This is a better option because using human and animal hair is a lot cheaper than the other methods used. A reason why human and animal hair isn’t widely used is because of the unusuality of it all. If human and animal hair were widely used, there would be fewer harmful effects of oil spills.

In summary, oil spills are a huge problem since they can harm wildlife and are very expensive to clean up. If human and animal hair can be used to clean up the oil spills, less money would be used.

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