The Japanese freighter "MV Wakashio", carrying some 3,800 tonnes of fuel and 200 tonnes of oil, ran aground when it struck a reef at Pointe d'Esny on July 25 in Mauritius.
The ship is owned by Nagashiki Shipping Company and operated by Mitsui OSK Line, both Japanese.
On Sunday 9, due to damage to the ship's hull, about 1,000 tons of fuel leaked, covering the island's paradisiacal waters with a huge black stain.
Tragedy in sight
Containment teams are running out of time to avoid an even bigger catastrophe, not only because there are still thousands of tons of fuel left on the ship, but mainly, to try to avoid the contamination of the reefs, because the oil spill has been advancing towards the coast, destroying the biome and local life.
There are risks of new leaks and irreparable environmental consequences can also affect the economy, food security and the health of the island's population.
The Blue Bay Ecological Park is home to 38 species of coral and 72 fish, and this entire ecosystem that has existed for millennia is threatened and there is no guarantee that it can recover.
Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of emergency and requested international assistance, saying it was a major disaster with enormous ecological risk, as volunteers, non-governmental organizations such as Greenpeace and government officials continue their efforts to contain the oil slick. in the crystal clear waters of the Island, using permeable cylinders made of hair and leaves.
The volunteers made the cylinders with fishing nets, sugarcane leaves, plastic bottles and hair that people voluntarily cut, because this material is excellent at absorbing and retaining oil, which is viscous, and "sticks" to the threads. of hair, preventing it from dispersing, facilitating its aspiration through the collecting hose.
The island is campaigning to collect hair.
Human hair is an environmental problem but it can also be the solution, as in these cases of hydrocarbon contamination.
In addition to oil containment, the company responsible for the freighter, authorities, scientists and volunteers are working to safely remove the remaining fuel that is still present on the ship.
They need a bit of luck, due to weather issues and ocean currents that can alter the "route" of oil.
Japan and France have already sent support teams.
Where is Mauricio?
The archipelago is located in the Indian Ocean, about 800 kilometers off the southeast coast of East Africa. Also called the Mascarenhas Islands, it is made up of the Mauritius, Rodrigues, Cargados, Carajos and Agalega islands.
It is a true dazzle in East Africa, invaded by the Portuguese in 1505, and ended up being colonized by the Dutch, English and French.
The main attraction is precisely tourism, it is what drives the economy of the region and attracts thousands of tourists each year for its natural beauty.
The beaches are of fine white sand, transparent waters, the turquoise sea also favors boat trips and various water activities. As if that were not enough, the archipelago has beautiful waterfalls and parks with extensive vegetation.
You can see images of the environmental disaster by accessing some Instagram links
By Juliane Isler. Article in Portuguese