An Icelandic Internet company has turned the volcanic ash cloud that led to Europe's biggest aerial shutdown since World War II into a charity money-spinner, its chief executive said Thursday.
The online shop, nammi.is, which sells various products from the north Atlantic island, is offering 160-gram (five-and-a-half ounce) jars of the ash from Eyjafjpoll volcano for 23.80 euros (29.90 dollars), with the proceeds all going to charity.
"The response has been enormous since we started this 10 days ago," Sofus Gustavsson said, whose company has sold the ash to 60 countries so far.
In all, 133 countries have made inquiries and almost a million visitors have gone onto the website since the offer began.
"It all started when one of our foreign clients, who is a collector, inquired if we could get him some ash from the volcano. I thought right away that this was a brilliant idea," the website's chief executive explained.
"My father lives nearby the volcano and I asked him if he could get me some ash. He shovelled a whole lot and brought it to me."
To meet demand, Gustavsson's father has since made three more trips to collect the ash, and every time it has been different, "it is now much coarser than it was earlier," the Icelandic businessman said.
There are two other companies also selling volcanic ash, but both with the aim of turning a profit.
Instead, Gustavsson is donating the proceeds to Iceland's search and rescue services. "I thought there was something wrong about profiting from something that is ruining peoples lives, the farmers near the volcano for example."Reuse content