Great Barrier Reef Threatened by Climate Change, Chemicals and Sediment By MICHELLE INNIS

According to the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, the Great Barrier Reef off of the coast of Australia has experienced its worst coral bleaching in history. This bleaching also created the biggest die-off in history. And yet, this event occurred just after a report by the Australian government to Unesco, that was written to reassure the environmental organization that the Great Barrier Reef, was not to be put on the "in danger" list, that its risks were being managed and under control. The report laid out a plan severely underfunded for protecting the 1,400 mile long coral reef, as the government claims to have made "good progress" in the first eighteen months of the 35-month plan.

Coral Reefs, once colorful and filled with fish, now dull and mostly empty.

Meanwhile 93% of the coral reef has already experienced bleaching, most of which is contributed by global warming, coastal sediments, and agriculture pesticides flowing off land and into the water. The report ignored the development of the construction of the world's largest coal mine, only 200 miles from the Great Barrier Reef. The pollutants created by this will only exasperate the pollution effects leading to an increase in coral bleaching. The once brightly colored reef is rapidly turning white.

The effects of Coral Bleaching.

This content is important to acknowledge because the report that Australia's government released just last Friday does not. The report did not include new ideas for financing measures of protection for the reef, nor new targets to reduce pollution. It is said to be expected to draw sharp criticism from Environmentalists. The report's update of $950 million dollars of government spending money available for the reefs is not even close to the $4.2 billion dollars expected to fully protect and significantly improve the reefs according to a study commissioned by Queensland's government. With only $950 million, target water quality hopes seem to be unlikely.

Dulled coral colors seen in the Great Barrier Reef due to pollution and global warming.

In order to help achieve these goals, a more serious focus needs to be on stopping the reef's death. This can be done by not only extending more money towards the effort, but by regulating major pollution sources such as the coal mine mentioned above. Finding ways to reduce that pollution as well as runoff of sediments and pesticides would also greatly help.

Birds-eye view of the full reef.

I chose this article because preserving marine life is something I feel very strongly about. I have always dreamed about scuba diving and exploring depths unknown to most. I want to be able to scuba dive in a colorful and vibrant Great Barrier Reef full of life. I want to be sure that countless future generations will also have that opportunity. The Great Barrier reef should not become a grand memory in the past, it needs to be preserved not only for it's beauty but for the communities of organisms that exist within it.

Preserve this friendly turtle's home!

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