A Leeds hairdresser is at the cutting edge of plans to save the Gulf Of Mexico from environmental disaster.

Human hair from a Headingley salon is being used to mop up the damage caused by a ruptured oil well which threatens to spill over and destroy the coastline in the states of Florida, Louisiana and Alabama

Louise Howard-Long, who owns Architect hairdresser’s, is sweeping up the clippings from her regular clientele and packing up to the locks to back a global appeal.

 Ecological charity Matter of Trust runs an international Hair for Oil

Spills programme to collect off-cuts from hair salons and pet groomers, sheep farmers and individuals all over the world.

Louise said:” I’ve always been interested in environmental issues and when my other half spotted the news about the appeal on the internet we thought it was a fantastic idea.

“It takes an awful lot of hair to fill a box but the effort is really worth it and the customers are really coming on board. They think it’s brilliant. I’ve already sent one box to Florida and I’m working on my next one.”

Because oil clings to the many tiny scales on each strand of hair, each follicle is a valuable weapon in the fight against pollution.

The donated hair and fur is stuffed into nylon tights to make sausage-shaped booms to string out along beaches, and Louise’s clients are chipping in with old pairs of tights too.

The technique has already been tested by the United States

Environmental Protection Agency in disasters such as 2007’s Cosco Busan oil spill in San Francisco Bay.

The latest spill could be a long-term economic and ecological disaster,

threatening beaches, wildlife preserves and fishing.

It has already forced US President Barack Obama to rethink plans to open more waters to drilling.


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