As you may be aware, the country is presently facing an unprecedented ecological disaster following the grounding of MV Wakashio on the shore at Pointe d’Esny two weeks ago.
Despite the failure of our authorities to recognize the foreseeable environmental impact of the shipwreck, the population did not hesitate to join hands in trying to mitigate the devastating and harmful effects of the heavy fuel oil spill on the marine life of the southeast coast.
However, we should consider this laudable initiative of thousands of volunteers and substantial logistics benevolently made available by major private companies, care must be taken to prevent further harm. As Safety & Health Practitioners, we must ensure that employees and the public, involved in this massive mobilisation to minimize the permanent and disastrous consequences of such “marée noire” are not unnecessarily exposed to the adverse health effects of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO). So, the general public should limit themselves to the dry side of the process (collecting suitable materials to make floating barriers, now notoriously called “Boudins” and leave the rest to the highly equipped personnel of authorities and Ministries.
Please visit our website (www.ishem.info) or Facebook page (ISHEM@shemMauritius) where you can download a copy of Oil Spill Booklet published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS) and the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO).
Hoping that these relevant documents will help you in advising your company and its employees to safely participate in this national action to save our blue lagoon !