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Ano ba talaga kuya?

September 4, 2006

Ecologist: Don’t use hair in oil slick cleanup

By Carla Gomez

BACOLOD CITY—A Negrense microbial ecologist warned against the use of hair and oil dispersants in cleaning up the oil slick from the sunken MT Solar I.

“If you really want to help Guimaras, don’t cut your hair. Donate biodegradable absorbents instead, like sugarcane trash, corn cobs, rice hull,” said Aidine Galvan, who discussed bioremediation of the MT Solar I oil spill at a forum hosted Friday by the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation Inc. and the Negros Forest and Ecological Foundation in Bacolod City.

She pointed out that when persons die and are buried, hair is usually found to be intact long after, when their bodies are exhumed.

She said it would be difficult to dispose of bunker fuel-covered hair, as it will only cause contamination.

On the other hand, biodegradable absorbents covered in oil and placed in a lined pit could be degraded into soil-like material, which can later be used in one’s garden, she said.

Galvan also warned that the use of oil dispersants is only effective in open deep water but never along the coastline or in shallow waters within 50 feet deep.

“That is because if you use these dispersants in shallow water, it will bring the oil to the bottom and endanger the marine life, like corals,” she said.

(For the full story, click Hairy deal.)

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IT’S been almost a month since Solar I sank and spewed its toxic contents into the open waters of Guimaras island. Still our brilliant scientists are debating whether it’s good to use cut hair and oil dispersants to clean up the oil slick, or not.

Officials from the government and Petron are not helping any by clarifying the issue. Perhaps they intend to keep the public, who just want to help out, perpetually confused and in the dark. C’mon already! Get your frigging acts together and tell the public what to do about this and how they can help!

Sludge readers, don’t fret if you already have had your hair cut. We only wanted to help. Now we gotta find some sugarcane trash and rice hull to use. This call goes out to the sugarcane and rice industries in the country. Please donate your byproducts to save Guimaras.

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