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Do you want to save the environment?

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Earth Day is celebrated on each April 22. It is a day to reaffirm our commitment in making our country a clean place and to recall that if we do not preserve what we have, the future generations will no longer benefit from the richness of our environment. Mauritius was once covered with a unique tropical forest, if you are sitting in Mauritius reading this blog, then chances are massive that the place where you are sitting was once a dense forest with dodos running here and there. When the various settlers came to Mauritius from Arab Countries, Portugal, Netherlands or France, ebony trees were brought down for their rich wood, animals were killed and the first forest were cut of for the sake of development. The Mauritius that we know today have been moulded centuries ago, the environment too sadly faced its fair share of toil since then.  In 2015 green spaces are more and more limited, the gradual shrinkage leaves little to the imagination on how much of these green spaces will resist to the concrete invasion in 20 years. Development should not equal to the death of Environment. The flora of Mauritius is particularly diverse and includes more than 700 species of native flowering plants and ferns.Contrary to popular belief, flora and fauna is not necessarily large open spaces of forest, even a tree behind your house is part of the flora, fauna and the ecology system as a whole.

To preserve what we already have, much of the natural reserves of Mauritius have been placed under NGO’s who collectively own a good expertise in the field. For example The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and Reef Conservation; have concentrated much of their efforts in protecting the assets that we already have. These NGo’s indulge in research, training and monitoring, for example the Reef Conservation carries monitoring activities at Anse la Raie, Roches Noires and Trou d’Eau Douce, just to state a few.


Among the main factors that stand to affect the environment, pollution is the cancer that craves its path through the various avenues and destroy what nature have taken centuries to build. Moreover with the event of a rapid industrialisation of Mauritius, more land was needed for industries that increased exponentially mainly when the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) was set up in the mid 80’s. More industries meant more pollution. This deadly cycle once put on march have been difficult to reverse. Efforts have been made and are being made by the Government, NGO’s and private entities. The first step have been to preserve what can be saved, so that we do not slip away by a greater distance where it becomes difficult to fill in the gap and we metamorphose inclining dangerously to an illusion of powerlessness.

Pollution does not affect only inland places, it goes deeper than that, it affect our rivers, where factories unscrupulously throw their dyes (they believe the river is their wasteland!), our coral reefs are being adversely affected, it took thousands of years for these reefs to be formed, even if they occupy only 0.7 % of sea floor they protect our lagoons; yet corals produce 70% of the worlds oxygen and home for 25% of all marine life.  Not long ago crystal clear lagoons was still a reality, sea water was clear with a dazzling beautiful blue tinge, this also is not getting spared of. The increase in tourism activities,  meant more speedboats are seen in our lagoons, which in turn disturbs the marine environment scarring or hurting one the most important inhabitants the Shark for the ecosystem and one of the most intriguing inhabitants of the Lagoon the Dolphin.  





Toxic is being released in the atmosphere on a daily basis, even if Mauritius signed the Kyoto Protocol, no catalytic converters are placed at the top of factory chimneys, consequently this cause acidic rain that fall on our rivers and forest. Mauritians might blame this on other countries, however; poor quality full important and sold in Mauritius is a large contributor and poor maintenance of the vehicles especial diesel fueled trucks and busses contribute to the poor air quality and acidic rain. Moreover due to the big demand, many farmers felt the need to use fertilisers to have an increased growth in a short lapse of time, these fertilisers go in the ground and in some cases where rivers are found nearby, after a heavy rain, these fertilisers get washed to the river and enter groundwater.

The population growth have always been positive, the latest statistics accounts for a +0.4 % increase. Even if it might not seem to be a big figure, it still mean that the country needs to find more resources, more housing, agricultural land, hence the natural resources get depleted quicker. It will be fair to note however that a population growth of 0.4 % is not as considerable as it is for countries where this figure reach almost 5 % yearly. Population growth affects our environment mildly. The repercussion would have been much more felt had this number been 10 times more what it is actually. More housing is being needed due to a change in family type from extended to nuclear family. The change in demography too affected the environment. Hence more forest needs to be cleared. The situation might become explosive in the next decades and we may experience a drastic reduction of green spots.

The economy of the country have swiftly changed from being an agricultural model to a more diversified one. This change meant that people no longer invested much in agriculture where jobs became scarce, it created a massive labour movement. When a country change its economy from agriculture to a more diversified one, it is not a state secret that green land will be in a few years sacrificed into a concrete jungle.

We must adopt a set of measures to save what can be saved. We should however be realistic, we live in a capitalist society, we will not be able to stop development, nor should we try to do so, but development should not equal to the death of environment. Development should be complementary, it is not progress if we are destroying the environment, the price cannot be so heavy.

There are simple remedies that we can start from our own house without having to wait for the State to do something about it. If you have enough space for you, try planting a tree, any tree would do, it does not take a lot of time, but the practical side of it, is that you get shade and fruits to eat. If you own land somewhere in the country and you know it is being littered upon, put an enclosure around it to prevent people from throwing their waste in open air.





Buy CFC - free products. Products that are CFC - free, does not affect the environment, nowadays there are CFC - free fridge, air conditioners, even perfumes. These does not have any adverse effect on the environment, the next time you have a choice, you know what to opt for.

The government should set up a scheme to encourage people to get into agriculture by increasing the scope of agriculture, that is by encouraging the creation of new concepts, that will create jobs and motivate students to take it at University level. If we want to revive our agriculture, we need to create jobs in the sector, we need to launch new concepts, re-adapt the the available infrastructure and make a proper use of resources.

Recycling should be encouraged, we often see a lot of plastic or paper littering on abandoned lands, instead of just shrugging our shoulders, we could use that and recycle them into meaningful objects You are able to contribute in saving the environment and you get to make some money out of it, good scenario isn't it?

Now no matter how much you try to make sure that on your side everything is working on fine, there will always be people who will not bother to make the same effort as you do. An Environment Squad should set up to this effect, this unit would be wholly responsible for the protection of the environment, and they should be empowered to deliver fines and build cases to go for prosecution in Court.  More subsidies should be granted on agricultural tools, not only for large farmers, but also for home use. Promoting agriculture will in the long run contribute immensely in restoring environment to a better shape.

We could go on and on about the measures that could be taken to reverse the situation. Many people linger on the fact that its the Government that should bring the policies, yes to some extent. But its above all a personal decision : Do you want to save the environment for the future generations?


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Arshad Dewkunkhan is Editor at Mauritius Yellow Pages, aged 25, resident of Rose - Hill. Former student of the St Joseph college with a formal education at College and University in Business Side.   Arshad is an avide reader, manages several Social Media pages, a football fanatic and loves spending time by nature.  


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