MANILA: Most people try to keep their hair clean. The Philippines wants its locks as dirty as possible.

The South-East Asian nation plans to use cast-off clippings of human hair from salon owners and other volunteers to help mop up oil from a disastrous spill that has fouled beaches, coral reefs and mangrove swamps.

Faced with its worst-ever oil spill and scant funds, the Philippines turned to the low-tech campaign after a tanker sank and began leaking bunker oil three weeks ago off Guimares island.

Even President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has joined in, ordering a government task force to set up collection centres for hair and chicken feathers. AP