On my arrival to the archipelago to cover information relating to the effects of climate change, the stretches of soft sand along the Indian Ocean have seemed lacking. When I went to Mauritius as a toddler on family holidays, I would see much of seashells on the waters. The collection of many different seashells that my father amassed as a teenager here would not be possible now. This is not surprising for 14-year-old climate change activist Anesh Mungur, who narrated he had scarcely observed any seashells in his life.
“I think it’s really sad that the shells are vanishing.
“I feel that the island is really suffering from the consequences of climate change and more needs to be done to protect the island before it’s too late.” Shells have always played an important role in Mauritian culture – the Monetaria annulus, commonly known as gold ring cowrie, is a gift of love or luck. The Monetaria moneta also used to be very common in Mauritius – it is known at the money cowrie as thousands of years ago it was used as a form of currency in some parts of Africa.
Oceanographer Vassen Kauppaymuthoo says seashells on the island have decreased in number by 60% over the last three decades.