Devastating Oil Spill is Wreaking Havoc on Pristine Mauritius

Mauritius is a tropical paradise, a tiny island far flung off the eastern side of Africa, past Madagascar.  It’s one of those tropical escapes that looks too beautiful to be a real place.

Tragically, that pristine status was shattered this week, as the giant oil tanker MV Wakashio hit a reef and began leaking oil into a protected marine park and near populated beaches.

The tanker is carrying over 4,000 tons of oil, and new photos show the extensive damage the oil is doing. Hundreds of local volunteers are scrambling to contain as much of the oil as they can, using whatever resources they can find, even hand-sewing oil booms filled with straw. It’s horrible to see, and such a catastrophe for this beautiful island nation, that depends on tourism and fishing for most of its GDP.

Here are some recently taken photos that show the extent of the devastation. So tragic. And underscores how critical it is we move away from fossil fuels. Images via The Atlantic:

And if you were looking for someway to help, this local crowdfunding campaign is a highly recommended one.

This photo provided by the French Defense Ministry shows oil leaking from the MV Wakashio, a bulk carrier ship that recently ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius,, Sunday Aug.9, 2020. The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has declared a “state of environmental emergency” after the Japanese-owned ship that ran aground offshore days ago began spilling tons of fuel. (Gwendoline Defente/EMAE via AP)

A still image taken from a drone video shows a cleanup crew working at the site of an oil spill after the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio ran aground on a reef, at Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius, August 8, 2020. REUBEN PILLAY/REUBSVISION.MU, Virtual Tour of Mauritius/via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

This aerial view taken on August 8, 2020 shows leaked oil being pushed by currents towards the Grand Port bay, near the Bois des Amourettes, coming from the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of south-east Mauritius. – France on August 8, 2020 dispatched aircraft and technical advisers from Reunion to Mauritius after the prime minister appealed for urgent assistance to contain a worsening oil spill polluting the island nation’s famed reefs, lagoons and oceans. Rough seas have hampered efforts to stop fuel leaking from the bulk carrier MV Wakashio, which ran aground two weeks ago, and is staining pristine waters in an ecologically protected marine area off the south-east coast. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

A volunteer is seen in the leaked oil from the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground on a reef, at Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius, August 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dev Ramkhelawon/L’Express Maurice NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

TOPSHOT – This general view taken on August 7, 2020, shows the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of south-east Mauritius. – France on August 8, 2020 dispatched aircraft and technical advisers from Reunion to Mauritius after the prime minister appealed for urgent assistance to contain a worsening oil spill polluting the island nation’s famed reefs, lagoons and oceans. Rough seas have hampered efforts to stop fuel leaking from the bulk carrier MV Wakashio, which ran aground two weeks ago, and is staining pristine waters in an ecologically protected marine area off the south-east coast. (Photo by Daren Mauree / L’Express Maurice / AFP) (Photo by DAREN MAUREE/L’Express Maurice/AFP via Getty Images)

This aerial view taken on August 6, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil from the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of south-east Mauritius. – France on August 8, 2020 dispatched aircraft and technical advisers from Reunion to Mauritius after the prime minister appealed for urgent assistance to contain a worsening oil spill polluting the island nation’s famed reefs, lagoons and oceans. Rough seas have hampered efforts to stop fuel leaking from the bulk carrier MV Wakashio, which ran aground two weeks ago, and is staining pristine waters in an ecologically protected marine area off the south-east coast. (Photo by – / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

A man collects leaked oil from the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground on a reef, at Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius, August 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dev Ramkhelawon/L’Express Maurice NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

A general view shows the leaked oil from the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground on a reef, at Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius, August 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dev Ramkhelawon/L’Express Maurice NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

TOPSHOT – People scoop leaked oil from the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground and caused oil leakage near Blue bay Marine Park in southeast Mauritius on August 9, 2020. – France on August 8, 2020 dispatched aircraft and technical advisers from Reunion to Mauritius after the prime minister appealed for urgent assistance to contain a worsening oil spill polluting the island nation’s famed reefs, lagoons and oceans. Rough seas have hampered efforts to stop fuel leaking from the bulk carrier MV Wakashio, which ran aground two weeks ago, and is staining pristine waters in an ecologically protected marine area off the south-east coast. (Photo by Daren Mauree / L’Express Maurice / AFP) (Photo by DAREN MAUREE/L’Express Maurice/AFP via Getty Images)

This photo provided by the French Defense Ministry shows oil leaking from the MV Wakashio, a bulk carrier ship that recently ran aground off the southeast coast of Mauritius,, Sunday Aug.9, 2020. The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has declared a “state of environmental emergency” after the Japanese-owned ship that ran aground offshore days ago began spilling tons of fuel. (Gwendoline Defente/EMAE via AP)

A helicopter hovers over the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground and caused oil leakage near Blue bay Marine Park in southeast Mauritius on August 9, 2020. – France on August 8, 2020 dispatched aircraft and technical advisers from Reunion to Mauritius after the prime minister appealed for urgent assistance to contain a worsening oil spill polluting the island nation’s famed reefs, lagoons and oceans. Rough seas have hampered efforts to stop fuel leaking from the bulk carrier MV Wakashio, which ran aground two weeks ago, and is staining pristine waters in an ecologically protected marine area off the south-east coast. (Photo by Daren Mauree / L’Express Maurice / AFP) (Photo by DAREN MAUREE/L’Express Maurice/AFP via Getty Images)

This aerial view taken on August 6, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil and the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of south-east Mauritius. – France on August 8, 2020 dispatched aircraft and technical advisers from Reunion to Mauritius after the prime minister appealed for urgent assistance to contain a worsening oil spill polluting the island nation’s famed reefs, lagoons and oceans. Rough seas have hampered efforts to stop fuel leaking from the bulk carrier MV Wakashio, which ran aground two weeks ago, and is staining pristine waters in an ecologically protected marine area off the south-east coast. (Photo by – / AFP) (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

This aerial view taken on August 8, 2020 shows cleaning operations of leaked oil from the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of south-east Mauritius. – France on August 8, 2020 dispatched aircraft and technical advisers from Reunion to Mauritius after the prime minister appealed for urgent assistance to contain a worsening oil spill polluting the island nation’s famed reefs, lagoons and oceans. Rough seas have hampered efforts to stop fuel leaking from the bulk carrier MV Wakashio, which ran aground two weeks ago, and is staining pristine waters in an ecologically protected marine area off the south-east coast. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

Volunteers make improvised oil-blocking buoys from straw for replacement of existing ones that have become heavy with oil after a bulk carrier spill, on the Mahebourg waterfront, Mauritius, August 10, 2020. REUTERS/Reuben Pillay

A still image taken from a drone video shows an oil spill after the bulk carrier ship MV Wakashio ran aground on a reef, at Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius, August 8, 2020. REUBEN PILLAY/REUBSVISION.MU, Virtual Tour of Mauritius/via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.

TOPSHOT – A man scoops leaked oil from the vessel MV Wakashio, belonging to a Japanese company but Panamanian-flagged, that ran aground near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of south-east Mauritius on August 8, 2020. – France on August 8, 2020 dispatched aircraft and technical advisers from Reunion to Mauritius after the prime minister appealed for urgent assistance to contain a worsening oil spill polluting the island nation’s famed reefs, lagoons and oceans. Rough seas have hampered efforts to stop fuel leaking from the bulk carrier MV Wakashio, which ran aground two weeks ago, and is staining pristine waters in an ecologically protected marine area off the south-east coast. (Photo by Jean Aurelio PRUDENCE / L’Express Maurice / AFP) (Photo by JEAN AURELIO PRUDENCE/L’Express Maurice/AFP via Getty Images)