Is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in danger? - Kalkine Media

June 21, 2021 06:00 AM AEST | By Team Kalkine Media
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Summary

  • The Great Barrier Reef as a world heritage site is the world’s largest coral reef system.
  • The World Heritage committee has been urged to ask Australia to take immediate action to combat climate change and protect the Great Barrier Reef from slipping into the ”danger” list.
  • Scientists suggest protecting the Reef from future bleaching, it is essential to improve the water quality, reduce sediments, fertilisers and chemicals that run into Reef’s water.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO has listed the Great Barrier Reef as a world heritage site.  It is the world’s largest coral reef system.  A site of remarkable beauty, the Great Barrier Reef is located on the northeast coast of Australia. 

Most importantly, it is famous as the home to 400 different types of coral. In addition, it is an ecosystem for 1500 species of fish and 4000 types of molluscs. Scientifically speaking, the Great Barrier Reef is very significant as it is the habitat of species that are endangered and on the verge of extinction. Some of these include dugongs (the sea cow) and large green turtles. 

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© Slrphotography | Megapixl.com

What has been happening with the Great Barrier Reef in recent years?  

Climate change has been shattering the healthy state of the reef. The heating climate has caused mass bleaching of corals in the years 2016, 2017 and 2020.  

Early this year, the Reef water quality report card showed that the quality of life and the overall environment along the Great Barrier Reef’s coastline has consistently been in poor health.  

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What has caused the alarm for immediate action?

In 2015, the Australian and Queensland Governments came up with the Reef 2050 Plan. However, it has been observed the targets are not being met.  In a recent report, The World Heritage committee has been urged to ask Australia to take immediate action to combat climate change and protect the Great Barrier Reef from slipping into the ”danger” list. 

According to the report, produced by the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Australia’s national treasure, which has been listed as a world heritage site for over 40 years, should be listed as IN DANGER.

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On the bright side, while the report shows some quality progress, there is a long way to meet the targets.  

© Rochakred | Megapixl.com

Entailing the road ahead 

The report has called on the Australian government to add another layer of protection measures and to commit to ambitious domestic emissions targets to reduce global warming. The overall poor condition highlights the need for more investment for the Reef’s ecosystem.  

Scientists suggest protecting the Reef from future bleaching, it is essential to improve the water quality, reduce sediments, fertilisers and chemicals that run into Reef’s water. 

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The Great Barrier’s future depends on improving water quality, as well as increasing knowledge about fishing and its repercussions on marine life. To facilitate this, political leaders need to take suggestions from science and the marine community experts and immediately act upon the most feasible ones.   

Encouraging modified practices could give the Great Barrier Reef a better chance to adapt and recover from the threats, including climate change.   


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