Source: Africa Pulse
Author: Iqbal Ahmed Khan
Mauritius is looking into deep sea mining prospects in the Indian ocean, as well as in its national waters. However, the government’s plans are criticised by the likes of Sunil Dowarkasing, former environmental advisor to the Prime Minister’s office.
Last year, Mauritius announced in its government programme that it had a national seabed mining bill in the works. The island state also played virtual host to a workshop involving the African Union and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation to look into the regional prospects for the industry. Aside from Mauritius, there are four other states prospecting for deep sea minerals in the Indian ocean: India, China, South Korea and Germany.
Dowarkasing underlines concerns about the physical damage to ecosystems, noise pollution that could result in the beaching of iconic marine mammals such as dolphins and whales, and finally chemical and metal contamination of food chains potentially affecting the livelihoods of fishing communities. The tragedy about this debate, he concludes, “is that the only thing we seem to think about when it comes to the ocean is just extraction”.
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