On March 18, we were able to attend an unusual event. A group of environmental activists dived into the waters of the Indian Ocean at the Saya de Malha site between the Seychelles and Mauritius. Armed with a sign that read “Youth Strike for Climate”, they organized the first underwater demonstration. Led by Shaama Sandooyea, a young 24-year-old marine biologist, this action aimed to warn against water pollution as well as the lack of action to fight against climate change. This initiative is part of the larger framework of an international movement initiated by Greta Thunberg in 2018 called Fridays For Future. These are strikes made by young students, generally on Fridays - hence the name - who leave their schools to participate in demonstrations in favor of action against global warming.
Until then more accustomed to classic terrestrial demonstrations such as marches, occupations of all kinds or sit-ins, it is under the waters off the paradisiacal islands that the environmental activist has chosen, this time, to bring all the looks. Originally from Martinique, she wishes to express her fed up with all the devastating attacks suffered by the entire local submarine ecosystem. The inhabitants of his island have struggled for months to try to clean up the devastation caused by a ship which dumped, last year, 3,800 tons of fuel oil and 200 tons of diesel on the coast of Mauritius, sullying the entire nature reserve, devastating corals, gobbling up birds and intoxicating red mullet, squid and octopus. This is just one example among many. Wild degassing, oil spills or even stranding are frequent in this region of the world.
An unbearable situation for this young activist who recalls how essential the health of the oceans is, not only for the underwater fauna and flora but also for the populations. As she said: “ Having grown up on an island in Mauritius, I have a front-row seat to see how important the health of the oceans is, not just for the climate, or for turtles and fish, but for them. millions of people here in the southern hemisphere depend on it. "
Through this kind of action, she hopes to draw attention to the gravity of the situation. It is urgent to act for the health of the oceans and climate change. The rise in temperatures induced by human activity increases the water temperature, weakening this site which, beyond its natural wealth, represents an enormous carbon sink.
We knew the Maldives and the Seychelles very affected by pollution, plastic and other waste, generated by tourist activity. The island of Thilafushi in the Maldives, which means "the trash island", offers the sad spectacle of the comings and goings of dozens of large boats which come to dump 1,500 tons of waste every day from hotels and the capital. It is not much brighter in the Seychelles. We remember this plastic ocean arch made by the NGO Ocean Project Seycjhelles erected in Victoria, capital of the Seychelles, denouncing the ravages of marine pollution. Symbol of human irresponsibility.
Shaama Sandooyea and his group of activists therefore wanted to show once again the other side of the scene, raise awareness, remind us of the share of responsibility incumbent on each of us. This underwater event brings us behind the postcard to confront a completely different reality: A corner of paradise where sea creatures die in a natural habitat covered with rubbish and constantly attacked by human pollution.