When Anesh Mungur, a 14-year-old climate activist, visited Mauritius with his family as a child, he saw a lot of seashells on the beaches. However, when he returned to the archipelago to report on the consequences of climate change, the soft sand at the Indian Ocean’s edge appeared lifeless. He feels that climate change is causing significant damage to the island and that more has to be done to protect it before it is too late.

The number of seashells on the island has decreased by 60% in the previous three decades, according to oceanographer Vassen Kauppaymuthoo. According to him, climate change, as well as activities such as overfishing, tourism, wastewater, and boat pollution, are to blame. Mauritius is one of the most vulnerable countries on the planet when it comes to climate change. Droughts, cyclones, and rising sea levels are all hazards to the country. Mr. Kauppaymuthoo recommends against collecting seashells from beaches, adding that they serve to avoid coastal erosion. Because there are more shells, winds, waves, and sea currents have a harder difficulty moving the beach silt around.

What is his suggestion for people who want to remember their tropical vacation? “Look at the shells, take photos of them – that way you can have fond memories and also knowing that you are saving them too.”