Thousands of people took to the streets of Port Louis, Mauritius’ capital on Saturday to protest the deaths of at least 40 dolphins following an oil spill by a Japanese bulk carrier.
The protesters brought traffic to a standstill on the busy streets.
Some of the protesters held placards with pictures of dolphins. One placard read: “Our ocean is our livelihood, you are killing us by killing the ocean life.”
Speaking to Anadolu Agency by phone, Louos Jacques, an activist, described the scenes from the capital saying: “Everyone came out today for one reason: our environment. “We are sure the dolphins died because of the oil spill. People are here to demand answers from the government. We need investigations and those responsible to pay for the damage.”
Sandra Beebee was among the locals who tried to save numerous dolphins in vain.
She along with other environmentalists who spoke to Anadolu Agency pointed fingers at the Japanese MV Wakashio ship which ran aground the pristine Mauritius waters on July 25 spilling over 1,000 tons of oil.
With a majority of the country’s people relying on tourism and nature to earn a livelihood, activists lauded the solidarity that the people of Mauritius showed by turning up to protest the mysterious deaths of animals in the island nation.
Locals also showed up in large numbers at the beach to help in cleaning. They shared photos on social media of oil-covered birds, sea turtles and ornate day geckos, many of them dead.
Environmentalists warn it will take a long time for Mauritius’ ecosystem to recover from the problems caused by the oil spill, underlining that the damage the spill did to the marine ecosystem around Blue Bay Marine Park and the Mahebourg coral lagoon will last for generations.