by Rianna Lobo
August 29, 2020
The Oil spill threatens ecological disaster in Mauritius
Around 40 dolphins have been found mysteriously dead in an area of Mauritius which was affected by an oil spill from a Japanese boat. Witnesses have described the deaths of one mother dolphin and her baby, officials reported.
The ship that caused the spill was said to have bumped into a coral reef, which caused it to break open. Demands for an investigation into the oil spills are ongoing as environmentalists get more concerned with how the oil will affect the quality of water and the aquatic life that it holds. Fisherman Yasfeer Heenaye said that the death toll is bound to rise, as he had seen 25 to 30 dead dolphins floating in the lagoon on Friday morning, among many of the other animals that other fishermen were trying to get away from the pollution. He also stated that he believes that the vision of the aquatic mammals was very certainly affected by the crude oil that was spilt, due to which they ended up being washed up on the reef after they sustained fatal injuries.
“The preliminary autopsy report has excluded that oil played a role, however, we sent some samples of the dead dolphins to La Reunion to determine why the animals couldn’t swim and their radar wasn’t functioning.” Jasvin Sok Appadu from the Fisheries Ministry said on Sunday. Peaceful protests have been occurring in Port Louis from Saturday to demand an investigation into their deaths and many have even demanded that the government resign. Apart from animal deaths, the spill has also threatened decades of work to conserve local seabirds and plant species. Scientists say that the full impact of the spill is still unfolding and that over 15 kilometres of coastline have been affected and the damage is heading to the Blue Ray Marine Park which is home to over 38 types of corals and 78 types of fish. The wildlife at huge risk involves the extremely endangered Pink Pigeon, endemic to the island, the seagrasses, clownfish and mangrove forests, whose roots serve as nurseries for fish.
A lot of people in Mauritius depend on the extremely rich biodiversity of the island nation for their livelihood and as of now, there is no telling how much they will be affected due to the oil spill.
Edited by - Hrishit Roy