An alarming number of dead dolphins and whales have washed ashore on Mauritius after a Japanese ship spilled oil into the blue lagoons of the Indian Ocean island last month.
The major oil spill could become an ecological catastrophe, with 39 dead dolphins, 3 whales, and several other sick and injured dolphins and whales turning up so far.
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Late in July, the stranded Japanese ship had leaked 1,000 or so metric tons of oil, and as the government fell short on containing the damage, residents had to take the matters into their hands by holding campaigns and cutting their hair to help soak up the oil.
The residents were scared of the oil causing damage to the island's ecosystems, and it seems that their outrage was not for nothing. Several weeks after the spill, whales and dolphins have begun to wash ashore.
The exact reason for the dolphins' deaths is not known yet; however, environmentalists are calling for an investigation.
The country's fisheries minister, Sudheer Maudlhoo, denied the reports that stated there were oil remnants in the animals' corpses, calling their deaths a "sad coincidence." Autopsies carried out on the carcasses of the dolphins and whales will be made public Wednesday night.
The tourism economy is what provides Mauritius' residents with food, and the damage has nightmarish implications. Mauritius' wetlands and coral reefs that protect the residents from sea level rise could have been affected too.
Mauritians are, rightfully, enraged. Not only they are protesting the government's slow response to the spill, but they are also banging iron bars to make loud sounds that will keep the marine animals away from the oil spill. They've also created oil barriers from sugar cane leaves, old clothing, and human hair.
The impact of the major oil spill is still unfolding, and according to scientists, the damage could affect Mauritius for decades.