Concerned locals were caught on camera attempting to clean up their paradise using home-made tools following a massive oil spill.
According to the reports, over 1,000 tons of oil have spilled into pristine waters of Mauritius after tanker MV Wakashio struck a reef near Pointe d’Esnyon on July 25.
Since the accident, the government has been under pressure with worried residents demanding action to prevent an ecological disaster.
Despite calls for action since the tanker slammed into the reef, the government allegedly failed to act in time and the vessel eventually started leaking oil from one of the cracks in the hull.
While around 1,000 tons of oil have already escaped the massive carrier, some 2,500 tons are still believed to be trapped within the vessel.
“I think it’s already too late. If the ship breaks in two, the situation will be out of control. We’re talking about a major disaster that is progressing, and it’s getting more complicated hour by hour,” environmental engineer and oceanographer Vassen Kauppaymuthoo said in an interview with AFP.
While the country’s prime minister, Pravind Jugnauth, claimed response crews have been deployed and managed to secure the leak, the cracks in the hull have allegedly grown and major risks persist.
Meanwhile, upset locals have armed themselves with home-made tools, including barriers made out of straw, in an attempt to save local flora and fauna despite officials’ calls for residents to abandon the cleaning and leave the job to the government.
“People have realized that they need to take things into their hands. We are here to protect our fauna and flora,” activist Ashok Subron said.
Another environmental activist, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation’s Jean Hugues Gardenne, slammed the government for not doing more to prevent the disaster in the last two weeks.
“That’s the big question. Why that ship has been sitting for long on that coral reef and nothing being done,” Gardenne expressed.
As Subron added, thousands of people have rallied in an attempt to preserve the paradise after losing trust in the government. “People by the thousands are coming together. No one is listening to the government anymore,” the activist said.
Amid the ecological disaster, Mitsui OSK Lines, the Japanese company responsible for operating the grounded vessel, vowed to “make all-out efforts to resolve the case.”
After Japan had sent a team of experts to assist Mauritians with the spill, France has also dispatched a team of professionals, a military aircraft, and a naval vessel in response to the country’s calls for international help.
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